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A few days ago, President Trump launched an airstrike against a Syrian airbase in response to the Syrian Government launching a Saren gas attack. Today, Secretary of Defense Mattis said that further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would warrant further military action by the United States, regardless of how those chemical weapons were delivered, including by barrel bombs.

Now in the year 2016, the Syrian Government used barrel bombs approximately 36 times a day on average. And it is my understanding that these barrel bombs often contain chlorine gas. So I have two questions:

  1. Does the use of chlorine gas violate the Chemical Weapons Convention?

  2. Has the Syrian Government used barrel bombs with chlorine gas after Trump's airstrike?

I think the Syrian Governmebt has definitely used barrel bombs after Trump's airstrike, but I'm specifically interested in barrel bombs with chlorine gas.

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    Do you have any citations for the 36 chlorine gas bombs a day? I'd believe it if it was regular bombs, but I dont believe that they were chlorine bombs – Reinstate Monica Apr 12 '17 at 14:02
  • @DavidGrinberg To be clear, the statistic is 36 barrel bombs a day, not 36 barrel bombs with chlorine a day. But my understanding from news reports is that these barrel bombs often contain chlorine gas. – Keshav Srinivasan Apr 12 '17 at 15:01
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    @KeshavSrinivasan Fine, lets say its 10 chlorine gas filled barrel bombs a day. I don't believe that. Please provide a citation. – Reinstate Monica Apr 12 '17 at 15:59
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    @KeshavSrinivasan That's full of weasel words: "alleged," "an activist told CNN," "suspected" and so on. – Sjoerd Apr 12 '17 at 19:17
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    @SJuan76 if anything a bomb dropped from a helicopter is more accurate than the same bomb dropped from an airplane and by your logic we should be aplauding the humanitarian initiative of the assad regime's use of semi-guided munitions. – easymoden00b Apr 13 '17 at 13:06
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  1. Does the use of chlorine gas violate the Chemical Weapons Convention?

Yes. The use of any toxic chemical or choking agent whatsoever as a weapon---even tear gas---is prohibited. (Chlorine gas is not a controlled substance under the CWC however, meaning that there is no explicit provision against producing or stockpiling for legitimate purposes.)

  1. Has the Syrian Government used barrel bombs with chlorine gas after Trump's airstrike?

No specific attack of this nature has been documented. An up-to-date table of reported chemical weapon attacks in the Syrian Civil War can be found on Wikipedia.

  • Usage of chlorine is not a violation of chemical weapon, according to CNN's Anderson Cooper 360. – Dylan Czenski Apr 20 '17 at 2:56
  • @DylanCzenski Depending on the exact quote, it sounds like Anderson Cooper and/or his guest might be wrong. See paragraphs 52-53 in the "Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic" published by the UN: admin.govexec.com//media/un_aleppo_march1.pdf – Brian Z Apr 20 '17 at 14:43

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