JERUSALEM // Bashar Al Assad, the Syrian president, is using chemical weapons, most likely sarin, against rebel forces in Syria, a senior Israeli army officer said today.
"Assad is using chemical weapons in Syria," said Brigadier General Itai Brun, head of research and analysis in the army's military intelligence division, in remarks quoted on the army's official Twitter feed.
In remarks to the annual INSS security conference in Tel Aviv, Brig Gen Brun listed the physical symptoms suffered by those who had apparently been exposed to chemical agents.
"The pupils are small, the foam coming out of the mouth and other additional signs testify as evidence that use has been made of chemical weapons," he said in remarks broadcast on Israel radio.
"Which chemical weapons? Apparently sarin."
Developed as a pesticide in Germany in 1938, sarin is a deadly and volatile nerve agent that is colourless and odourless.
In high doses, it paralyses the muscles around the lungs and prevents chemicals from "switching off" the body's secretions, so victims suffocate or drown as their lungs fill with mucus and saliva.