Israeli intelligence: Syria used chemical weapons

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syrian forces have used chemical weapons against rebel forces and civilians, the head of Israel’s military research said.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

The weapon likely is sarin-based, which targets the nervous system and can cause paralysis or death, Brig. Gen Itai Baron, the head of the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Research Branch, said on Tuesday.

Baron told a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv that intelligence photos of the victims of the weapons, with foam coming out of their mouths and dilated pupils, as well as photos of the areas affected by the weapons’ attack, led to the conclusion that chemical weapons had been used, Haaretz reported.

The photos were taken during two incidents near Damascus on March 19; Western intelligence officials have said they believe that Syria used chemical weapons in the incidents.

President Obama has called the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad a “red line” that would lead to U.S. involvement in the two-year civil war.

Need to know? Click here to sign up for JTA’s free e-newsletters.

Click to write a letter to the editor.