The Syrian government resumed normal operations after nine days of suspected chemical attacks.
As inspectors wait for an opportunity to visit the site of the alleged chemical attack in Syria, there is still a problem with what happened there. But the Syrian government has resumed business as usual - including attacks on the country’s rebellious areas.
AILSA CHANG, host:
Ok, so we’re going to go to the region, and we’re going to talk a little bit more about the problems that still exist and about the suspected chemical weapons attack, and why we’re still using the skeptics.
RUTH SHERLOCK, wired: hi.
Chang: can you tell us about the history of the Syrian regime’s use of chemical attacks throughout the civil war?
Shallok: well, chemical weapons have been used many times in the Syrian civil war. In fact, a UN panel of investigators has been able to verify about 33 cases of chemical weapons use. About 27 of them are from the Syrian government, they said. Chlorine gas is the most commonly used chemical. It was weaponized in the war in Syria. And, you know, its death toll is low because it dissipates quickly, but it’s still deadly. It turns into an acid in the lungs, causing the fluid to accumulate and basically drown.
Chang: so there are so many examples, why do you still wonder if this is a chemical attack or how many people have died?
Sherelk: so the United States, Britain and France say they have this information. You know, some things have been verified in other attacks in the past, but they have not been made public in this attack. Let’s start with the dead. The widespread number killed 43. But that seems to depend on the situation provided by the white helmets, a witness account based on the region’s rescuers. They say the bodies have been buried, and they have not yet produced video or photographic evidence that matches the death toll. And, you know, the white helmets, which are controlled by the entire Syrian rebels, have been very reliable. But there are specific problems with the credibility of the duma rescue workers.
CHANG: what do you like?
Shalelov: so the region has long been under the control of a rebel group that has imposed a strong rule in the region. So one theory is that they might be under more pressure to have the insurgents have a party there. I’m not saying the attack didn’t happen. But the process of identifying the facts is still in its early stages.
Chang: at the same time, the Syrian government appears to be back in the past few days to attack rebel-held areas, rather than using chemical weapons, instead using conventional weapons. Can you tell us how extensive these attacks are?
Unlocking: many, many people have died in Syria through conventional weapons. Even now, the Syrian observatory monitoring group also reported that hama and homs province dozens of air strikes took place in central region, the region where the government is trying to strengthen its control of the opposition. These strikes often strike civilian areas. They often use barrel bombs. This is almost a bucket filled with TNT, which is designed to kill them as widely and imprecisely as possible.
In fact, a study by the opposition Syrian human rights network showed that the Syrian regime helicopters dropped more than 68,000 barrels of atomic bombs from July 2012 to the end of December. So, you know, when the world to see this, and as your guest said, see need chemical weapons, it’s really hard to tell the difference, the Syrian people and to the dismay of, no more action to deal with the use of all weapons.