The Mystery Behind a Deadly Chemical Attack
Reports on bombings in Syria these days have become routine. But when Mohammad Sabbagh, an industrialist from Aleppo, heard about the attack near his hometown on March 19, the details stopped him cold.
Survivors and witnesses of what was being described by the government news agency as a chemical attack said they smelled something like chlorine. And as the owner of Syria’s only chlorine gas manufacturing plant, Sabbagh knew that if chlorine was involved, it most likely came from his factory.
The attack killed 31 people, including 10 soldiers, and wounded scores more. In the immediate aftermath the Syrian government and the opposition traded accusations. The government claimed that “terrorists,” its term for the rebels that have been fighting the regime for two years, had fired a “missile containing a chemical substance” at the village of Khan al-Asal in retaliation for their support of the government.