Syrian government forces deployed a non-lethal chemical weapon on March 27 on the outskirts of Damascus, an Israeli security source said Monday, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The source confirmed claims by Syrian rebels and doctors last month that a substance that “neutralizes but does not kill” was used against rebel fighters in Harasta, an outlying area of the Syrian capital.
A second alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime occurred in the same area within days of the first attack, Syrian opposition sources charged, though the Israeli source could not confirm that report.
According to the New York-based website Syria Deeply, which interviewed doctors on the ground in Syria, in one instance, 25 fighters were injured. In addition, some reports suggested that four people were killed in the March 27 attack.
“Symptoms suffered by patients included hallucination, accelerated pulse, trouble breathing and, in some cases, suffocation,” according to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a group of Syrian-American doctors and surgeons traveling in and out of Syria.
According to Israeli security assessments, Syria has destroyed the majority of its chemical weapons production centers, and is transporting chemical weapons from storage sites to ships in Latakia, which remove the substances and destroy them. The disarmament efforts, which have been stepped up in recent weeks, are being managed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.