Have Assad’s forces used Chemical Weapons on Homs?

Dec 28 2012 - 4 Comments
By Richard Clements

Reports have appeared on news websites according to those, forces loyal to President Assad have attacked Syrian rebels in the city of Homs with what appears to be a gas type chemical weapon.

Quoting Al-Jazeera, Haaretz has reported that opposition leaders said that government jets dropped bombs containing a poisonous gas onto Homs on Dec. 23.

It is not known what chemical agent was used. Some think it’s something similar to Sarin although according to a doctor who treated some of the victims the agent QNB or 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate for its full name (also known by NATO as BZ) was used possibly mixed in with another agent to mask its identity.

QNB is an odorless incapacitating agent which is usually delivered as a aerosol based solid and this would fit in with some of the symptoms the victims suffered.

Around 6 or 7 people were killed outright in the attack, 4 were left paralyzed, 4 where left blind and dozens had symptoms including agitation, consciousness impairment, pinpoint pupils, nausea and  breathing difficulties.

Many of the victims said that there was a bad odor along with the gas and as QNB is odorless this would suggest that the QNB is mixed with something else quite possibly a solvent to aid ingestion or per-cutaneous adsorption (through the skin).

[Read also: Assad regime has turned combat planes into WMD-armed drones]

An article ran on the Independent website states that a defecting Syrian army General Abdul-Aziz Jassim al-Shallal confirmed that the attack was indeed a chemical weapons attack, although he did not give any further details.

However Wired’s Dangeroom (Link contains graphic video) quotes an unnamed US official as saying that “It just doesn’t jibe with chemical weapons,” after viewing the videos supplied by the rebels, assuming Sarin had been used the casualty numbers would have been far higher and felt that the videos didn’t really conclusively state that chemical weapons had been used at least Sarin and we could have been shown anything not necessarily victims of a chemical weapons attack.

Both sides of the conflict have been sending out propaganda to meet their own needs and this could be another example of this fake claims.

Until this has been independently verified its hard to say what exactly has happened.

Syria reportedly tested chemical weapons using tanks and helicopters earlier this year.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

A Su-22 drops a freefall bomb next to a lucky cameraman in Homs

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1820994992 Bjørn Holst Jespersen

    Thanks for collecting this material.

    One thing I think is worth adding is the red line expressed by US with regards to chemical weapons.
    Meaning: I agree with the unnamed official, that in theory those videos and the reports of that evening could have been staged. But still: in order to assess that statement one needs to remember, that if this official had agreed to this being credible evidence of use of chemical weapons, it would also be agreeing to the red line most likely having been crossed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hdevreij Hans de Vreij

    With all due respect, I see a lot of BS here. BZ is a non-lethal chemical agent, the effects of which closely resemble those of LSD. Amidst the many reports about the alleged recent use of ‘chemical weapons’ I saw none describing victims that had a bad (or good for that matter) acid trip.

    I concur with the quote from Dangerroom that the use of Sarin would have left a LOT more victims, most of them dead.

    Finally, repeating the news that Syria has tested the use of chemical weapons with *tanks* is utter nonsense. There are no chemical tank shells on the market. Theoretically one could fill a tank shell with a poisonous fluid, but given the enormous kinetic energy associated with the impact of a tank shell, the fluid would simply evaporate and burn.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1584085139 Simon Wolfers

    This seems similar to the other recent story about an airstrike on a bakers that killed 90 but when the video was looked at closely all the dead (less than a dozen and in various stages of decomposition) were fighting age men. This alleged chem attack bears all the same hallmarks of Syrian opposition desperation to entice in NATO forces. Despite this lack of credibility it doesn’t stop the mainstream news outlets picking it up and running with these stories time and again.

  • Lucas Cuartero

    What kind of MiG-23 variant is it?