Use of chemical weapons in Syria fuels Ukraine’s doubts

Legal and moral taboos were shattered during the civil war in Syria by the use of chemical weapons. Hundreds of people died in poison gas attacks that were widely attributed to President Bashar Assad’s forces, under the protection of his main ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Several years later, concerns are growing that such weapons could also be used in Ukraine, where Russian forces have been waging a devastating war.

As the conflict drags on, Western officials and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have warned that Putin could deploy chemical weapons. Analysts say Syria’s civil war set a frightening precedent for the use of such weapons.

Chilling images of victims in Syria, writhing and gasping after chlorine gas cylinders were dropped from helicopters on towns and villages, were broadcast again and again over the course of the country’s civil war.

With the use of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war, legal and moral taboos were shattered. Hundreds of people, including many children, died in dozens of poison gas attacks that were widely attributed to the forces of President Bashar Assad, under the protection of his main ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Several years later, concerns are growing that these weapons could also be used in Ukraine, where Russian forces have been waging a devastating war for weeks now.

As the conflict drags on, Western officials and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have warned that Putin could deploy chemical weapons.

The world must react now, Zelenskyy cried out.

Analysts say Syria’s civil war set a frightening precedent for the use of such weapons.

Officials say they are investigating an unconfirmed claim by a far-right Ukrainian regiment that a poisonous substance was dropped on the besieged city of Mariupol this week. The claim could not be confirmed by independent sources, and Ukrainian officials say it could have been phosphorus munitions, which cause horrific burns but are not classified as chemical weapons.

SourceAP