“When Chemicals Became Weapons of War” claims that “hundreds of Syrian civilians [were] killed by their military’s use of sarin” (C&EN, Feb. 23, page 21). Not to put too fine a point on it, but the attribution of responsibility for this atrocity has been far from unanimous. The French government, former colonial ruler of Syria, led the charge in accusing the Syrian government of having launched the attack.
An article on the website truth-out.org, on April 29, 2014, summarizes evidence that casts doubt on this rush to judgment. The author writes that “the debate over the Aug. 21 attacks has focused primarily on a series of assertions about ‘smoking guns’ that allegedly proved Syrian government guilt.” The article proceeds to quote evidence that the areas within a radius of 2 km from the impact sites were controlled by rebels.
Credible alternatives to C&EN’s version of events in Syria do exist.
Karl H. Hiller
Spring Valley, N.Y.