France Confirms Sarin Gas Has Been Used in Syria

Credit: US Army/wikimediaCredit: US Army/wikimediaFrench Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said that tests conducted in Paris on samples taken from Syria confirm that sarin gas has been used "several times and in a localised manner" during the Syrian conflict.

The announcement comes shortly after United Nations investigators said that they had “reasonable grounds” to believe that chemical weapons were being used in the Syrian conflict by government and rebel forces.

The White House has said that U.S. is continuing to gather evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Because the European Union’s arms embargo on Syria was not renewed at the end of last month it would be easier for France and other countries that have advocated for increased involvement in Syria to assist Assad’s opposition by sending them weapons. The recent news will almost certainly be used as the latest argument for intervention.

In August 2012 Obama said that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be considered a “red line.” Given that tests from Paris have confirmed that sarin gas was used the Obama administration will be under pressure to increase involvement in the conflict.

If the Obama administration does not react to the confirmed use of chemical weapons in some way it could be interpreted by Hezbollah, Russia, Iran, and the Syrian government to mean that when it comes to Syria Obama is all bark and no bite. This is not a perception that Obama will be keen on fostering, especially given the bipartisan support for intervention on Capitol Hill.

The Syria Transition Support Act of 2013, which would allow the Obama administration to arm “vetted” rebels in Syria was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month. It is now awaiting action in the Senate.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Pro Libertate||

    So we invaded Iraq in part based on a reasonable, if debatable, suspicion of WMDs. Does this mean we have to invade Syria twice?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We would never invade anyone solely on the word of the French.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Look, the French know WMDs.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You're thinking of croissants.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wanton Mass Deliciousness. Yes, what did you think I was talking about?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Low-carb weapons.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Weak Mockery of Deliciousness?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    "Invade"? Your pattern indicates two dimensional thinking.

    Think higher. Much, much higher.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Ugh, we already tried "leading from behind" in Libya. I wouldn't want to be in an Air National Guard tanker unit right now, and have summer plans.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "“reasonable grounds” to believe that chemical weapons were being used in the Syrian conflict by government and rebel forces."

    So it could be both sides doing this? If that turns out to be the case, does that mean that the US should provide each side with military aid to use against the other, in order to show our indignation at the use of chemical weapons?

    Maybe I shouldn't be giving them ideas.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Heck, send a contingent of troops to aid Assad and another to aid the rebels, and let the two contingents fight it out.

  • tarran||

    Ah. Battling Business Units. Great for Lulz

  • BakedPenguin||

    Oh, for the days when Dilbert was funny and insightful.

  • ||

    What? Did you not see the Krugman strip from yesterday?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Great for Lulz. And for giving our senior staff ideas...

  • Jon Lester||

    I gained new hope for Egyptian society when that imam recently called on the radicals to join the fight against Assad.

    Ask me how much I care that religious supremacists are shooting and gassing each other.

  • Paul.||

    What we need is some incentive to go to war in Syria. Some kind of metric that allows us to say, "Ok, NOW we go!"

  • Rhywun||

    I think the metric is: if we haven't blown through this year's defense budget yet, we go to war somewhere.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I say we slip a clause into the congressional authorization that requires the President to deploy any legislator who votes to intervene in Syria to the front lines in Syria.

    Since congresscritters read every bill closely before they vote on it, they'll never pass it.

  • ||

    So where is that red line Obama was talking about?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    It is under repair. Sorry.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You know, using alt-text in Reason isn't going to lead to an invasion by the US Army.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Words of Mass Distraction.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Alt-text is one of the ways to distract me. Another is attractive redheaded women.

  • DontShootMe||

    So, attractive redheaded women with alt-text doubly distract you?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    He be struck catatonic.

  • LTC(ret) John||


  • Auric Demonocles||

    The mere thought threw me off for so long that I am just now responding.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    In fact, lack of alt-text maybe an invadable offense.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "the three bulb fixture of DEATH"

  • ||

    Alternate article title: Paris lights the Obama signal.

  • Mr. Soul||

    Nancy Pelosi was heard to ask: Are you Syrius?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    *narrows gaze, shakes head slowly then turns back to paperwork*

  • Anders||

    McCain farts Sarin gas? Whoa.

  • WomSom||

    OK wow, now that makes a lot of sense .


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