Has Syria used chemical weapons?

News.com.au reports:

THE images showed lifeless children – wrapped in simple white cloths, their pale faces unmarked by any wound – lined up shoulder to shoulder in a vivid demonstration of an attack Wednesday in which activists say the Syrian regime killed at least 1300 people with toxic gas.

The Syrian government adamantly denied using chemical weapons in an artillery barrage targeting suburbs east of Damascus, calling the allegations “absolutely baseless.”

The US, Britain and France demanded that a team of UN experts already in the country be granted immediate access to investigate the claims.

Videos and photographs showed row upon row of bodies wrapped in white shrouds lying on a tile floor, including many children. There was little evidence of blood or conventional injuries and most appeared to have suffocated.

Survivors of the purported attack, some twitching uncontrollably, lay on gurneys with oxygen masks covering their faces.

If the claims are correct, this could represent a major turning point in Syria. It would be very difficult for Russia to continue to back Assad if his regime has used chemical weapons on such a scale.

However the Middle East is notorious for its use of faked scenes to garner sympathy for one side of a conflict, and one can’t take the claims at face value. However the scale of what is claimed seems difficult to fake.

The only acceptable outcome is both sides allow full access to UN investigators. If one side blocks such access that will give us a pretty good idea of where the truth may lie.

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