Chemical weapons were unleashed between 1914 and 1918 to break enemy lines on European battlefields. Their claim on casualties was not as harsh as guns or artillery, but they left a horrible reputation. Nine decades later, Syrians have added two words to their vocabulary: sarin and organophosphates. These weaponized chemicals exist today in the Syrian Army arsenal. While Damascus denies their deployment, hospitals have treated patients with exposure to nerve agents. Since March 19, four chemical incidents have been reported in country. Today’s BBC report shows casualties in a Syrian hospital affected by organophosphates and claims by witnesses that a helicopter dropped canisters on a populated area. Outside authorities are now testing samples for confirmation.
So we wait for neutral reports from laboratories and dry statements from government officials. We wait for debates from great men in great halls. We wait, as do the Syrians, for their freedom and salvation. Granted, it is a colossal effort to eject the reigning power in Damascus and organize a replacement. It could take fifty years to stabilize a region marred by hate and fear. Yet a peaceful solution may never reach fruition. Stronger measures are now the only way to end this nightmare. We may hesitate in the name of personal sacrifice, but ours is a warranted and noble contribution compared to the 80,000 Syrians lost to the bloodiest civil war of our time.