Charles Blair, GMU Biodefense Adjunct Professor and the Senior Fellow on State and Non-State Threats at the Federation of American Scientists, was quoted extensively in the Washington Post’s piece yesterday on Assad’s possible use of chemical weapons against the rebels.
Speaking on the grisly effects of nerve agents, Blair explained, “There’s muscle twitching. Then, as the muscle twitching gets more and more spasmodic, mucus comes out of the nose and mouth and you basically go into convulsions on the ground. People don’t survive this.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is accused of using nerve agent, possibly sarin, on sleeping civilians in the suburbs of Damascus. UN Inspectors have not yet been granted access to the areas of the alleged attack. Estimates of the death toll range from 136 to 1300, with no way for outside validation.
For information on a potential US response to a chemical weapons attack, see our CBRN Policy Brief, “Is the US Prepared for a Chemical Attack?“, by Dr. Alex Garza, GMU Biodefense Affiliate Research Scientist and former Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Homeland Security.
(image courtesy of Syria Freedom House)