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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Israel Accuses Syria of Using Chemical Weapons

by VOA News April 23, 2013

Israel says Syria has used chemical weapons against rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

The head of research and analysis for Israel's military intelligence, Brigadier General Itai Brun, told a security conference Tuesday that the weapons were 'probably' the nerve agent sarin.

Syria's government and the rebels have traded accusations about the use of chemical weapons.

The United Nations wants to send its own team into Syria to investigate the claims. Earlier this month, Syria rejected a request by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to allow inspectors into the country.

Ban said Monday the mission is still ready to deploy when it gets permission and had carried out 'fact-finding activities' based on available information while it waits.

Sarin is among the most toxic chemical weapons, with exposure to large doses capable of causing paralysis and potentially fatal respiratory failure. Smaller doses can affect a person's vision and heart rate, and those with mild or moderate exposure usually recover completely.

The substance was originally developed as a pesticide, but has been used in deadly attacks, including one on the Tokyo subway system that killed 13 people in 1995.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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