Sarin Gas: the chemical behind Syria


John Kerry, US State Secretary, announced today that hair and blood samples collected from the Damascus attack in Syria “tested positive for signatures of sarin” (BBC News, Announcement Coverage). I’m sure you’ve heard the political ins and outs on the situation in Syria, pros and cons of interference and much debate on whether the US will make their move. But what about the chemicals behind the story? The most publicized chemical criminal in this international crisis is Sarin gas – so what exactly is it, and how does it work?


First and foremost, Sarin gas is a nerve agent, meaning that it interferes with the body’s messaging system. Its first recorded use dates to Nazi Germany, where it was one of many lethal gases produced from agricultural pesticide development. Sarin gas is no stranger to Asia. It is man-made and was classified as a weapon of mass destruction…

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