Syria were one of seven countries that had not joined the 1997 convention banning chemical weapons. They were widely believed to possess large undeclared stockpiles of mustard gas and sarin nerve agent. Fast forward to March 19, 2013: There’s a gas attack in the town of Khan al-Assal in northern Syria.  It resulted in at least 26 fatalities including 16 government soldiers and 10 civilians, and more than 86 injuries. And then, in the early hours of 21 August 2013, two opposition-controlled areas in the suburbs around Damascus, were struck by rockets containing the chemical agent sarin. The Ghouta Attack. Estimates of the death toll range from at least 281 people to 1,729.

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