How Doctors Would Know If Syrians Were Hit With Nerve Gas


President Obama affirmed Tuesday that there’s evidence Syrians have been attacked with chemical weapons—in particular, nerve gas.

But that's not the same as proof positive.

“We don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them,” Obama said. “We don't have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened.”

Proving that someone has violated the international taboo on chemical weapons can be very hard. While governments seek more evidence, Syrians may be in danger.

That's why a physicians’ organization is trying to help medical workers in Syria recognize the signs of a chemical attack. The effort is meant to save lives, but it could also generate evidence that governments are seeking.

Physicians for Human Rights is setting up a network to get fact sheets about chemical weapons into the hands of Syrian physicians. This group has a long record of working with medical professionals in trouble spots to protect civilians and reveal war crimes.

The full article continues at on NPR’s website.

Physicians for Human Rights is a member of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict coalition and serves on the steering committee.