French Paper Reports Chemical Attacks in Syria Firsthand

'Le Monde' describes chemical attacks in gritty detail
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2013 4:09 PM CDT
A woman named Aida cries as she recovers from severe injuries after the Syrian army shelled her house in Idlib, northern Syria.   (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

(Newser) – When Obama last spoke about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, he said he wanted to avoid "rushing to judgement" because "we don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them." Well, here's some detail: Journalists from French newspaper Le Monde spent two months with rebels in Damascus, where they report witnessing multiple chemical attacks firsthand, and spoke to medical centers all over the region that reported treating people suffering the effects of gas attacks.

"No odor, no smoke, not even a whistle to indicate the release of a toxic gas," writes reporter Jean-Philippe Rémy. "And then the symptoms appear. The men cough violently. Their eyes burn, their pupils shrink, their vision blurs. Soon they experience difficulty breathing, sometimes in the extreme; they begin to vomit or lose consciousness." But it's still difficult to pin the attacks back to the Assad regime, he writes, so foreign leaders may remain reluctant to intervene. In related news, John McCain, a vocal proponent of further intervention in Syria, sneaked into the country today to meet rebel leaders, the Daily Beast reports. Click to read the full report from Le Monde. (Read more Syria stories.)

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