The Syrian Civil War is much talked about in news since the last four days. The ‘Chemical Attacks in Syria’ on the innocent population put a huge question mark on the credibility of the Assad Government. The attacks took place on 4 April, 2017 have caused a grave damage of both property and life. Reportedly, 90 people have died because of these chemical attacks and hundreds of people are injured and in critical condition.
WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED?
In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Khan Sheikhoun (a district to the south of Idlib) witnessed the attacks by warplanes. As per the eye witnesses, the aircraft dropped a bomb on one storey building and the explosion sent a yellow mushroom cloud into the air which resembled the winter fog but suffocated the people.
When the medics arrived 20 minutes later, they found people mostly of which the children choking on the streets. Victims experienced symptoms including redness of the eyes, foaming from the mouth, constricted pupils, blue facial skin and lips, severe shortness of breath and asphyxiation.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, put the death toll at 86 and said it was likely to rise, with many of the injured in a serious condition in hospital.
WHAT WERE THEY EXPOSED TO?
The Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has stated that the nerve agent in these explosives was Sarin.
Sarin, alternatively known as GB, is a colorless, odorless and tasteless chemical agent in its pure form. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention states “It is a human made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent.”
It is usually in liquid form but can evaporate into a gas and spread into the environment.
SYMPTOMS OF SARIN
Since the Sarin is odorless and colorless, it is very difficult for people to identify by what they have been exposed too.
The initial symptoms may include coughing, drooling, nausea, excessive sweating, rapid breathing and increased urination.
More exposure may lead to fatal symptoms such as loss of consciousness, paralysis, respiratory failure and convulsive-ness which could lead to death.
Antidotes to Sarin are Pralidoxime and Antropine. Following the chemical attacks of Tuesday, the hospital was only able to arrange for a small quantity of Pralidoxime because of its high cost and low availability.
Antropine can be used as a cheap substitute but it is only suitable during cases of moderate effects.
WHAT DOES THE WORLD COMMUNITY FEEL?
The major stakeholders in these chemical attacks of Syria are Russia and United States of America.
Just FYI, Russia is supporting the Assad Regime and USA is supporting the rebels.
Russia declines the possibility of its involvement in these attacks with a motive to harm the civilians. As per the reports, the warplanes were sent to destroy the terrorist base that was setup on the Eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun.
USA condemns the air strike and has struck the Syrian airfield in its first direct military action against Assad.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS INTO THE ISSUE
Some latest developments in the issue are:
- The Syrian air force resumed flight operations at the base that the US had struck Friday.
- Pentagon probes possible Russia involvement in chemical attack that prompted US strike.
- US officials say about 20 planes were destroyed in Friday’s attack on the Shayrat base.
- US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley say US ‘prepared to do more’ in Syria.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin said US strike was an “act of aggression.”
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