CBRN Assessment

Attacking Syrian chemical targets carries serious risks

26 August 2013

Key Points

  • Striking chemical weapons stores could cause the release of deadly agents downwind
  • Eventually destroying Syria's chemical arsenal would take significant time, money, and expertise

With the United States and its allies deliberating action against the Syrian armed forces for their suspected use of chemical weapons, numerous scenarios must be considered, including the effect of a direct strike on chemical weapon stockpiles.

"The purpose of the strikes will likely be to punish the Assad forces sufficiently enough to deter the use of chemical weapons in the future, but not to try to destroy the chemical weapon stocks themselves," Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, told IHS Jane's on 27 August.

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