It’s an image that has haunted me since I first saw it on Tuesday.Read more here.
Seven tiny Syrian children lying together in a heap, their faces staring into space with their eyes wide open.
We’re horribly used to seeing young victims of this devastating war-battered and bloodied from bombs.
But these kids didn’t have a mark on them.
They looked frozen in time.
Yet they were all dead; their poor little lives deliberately snuffed out by Sarin, one of the deadliest chemical weapons on the planet.
The lethal liquid was dropped on them in bombs deposited from Syrian dictator Basher Al-Assad’s planes.
It’s important to understand the scale and nature of what happened here.
Sarin is a man-made nerve agent 26 times more deadly than cyanide.
It was developed in 1938 by German scientists as they attempted to create stronger pesticides.
The formula was swiftly passed to the military, who discovered it had such a horrendous impact on the human body it could become a weapon of mass destruction.
Yet the effects were so appalling that even the Nazis reportedly held off using it on the battlefields during World War II, fearing massive retaliation.
Imagine that for a moment? This was considered too heinous an instrument of death even for Hitler to deploy against allied forces.
Sarin is a liquid that evaporates quickly into colourless gas with no smell or taste, so there is no prior warning when it attacks.
It just absorbs into the skin of its victims, permeating the membranes and lungs.
Once inside, it goes to hideous work, breaking down the nervous system so vital organs all start to lose control.
Your eyes water uncontrollably, you spew saliva and vomit, your bowels evacuate, your vision fails, your breathing collapses, your chest explodes with pain.
Then your whole body violently convulses and you become completely paralysed.
If you’re lucky, you die within 10 minutes. If you’re not, it can take a lot longer. Or, perhaps even worse, you survive but with dreadful brain damage.
This is what those Syrian children went through before they died.
It turned out I wasn’t the only one to feel as incensed by those images.
President Donald Trump, watching on television at the White House, felt the same raging torrent of fury and despair.
He’s a loving father of five. I’ve seen at first hand what a devoted dad he is to his children.
Like me, and any parent, he’d have thought of his own dying like that.
And like me, he’d have thought: who is going to stop this?
The answer came last night.
Trump ordered a ferocious attack on the Syrian air base from which the Sarin-armed planes took off.
Sunday, April 09, 2017
Barbarism in Syria
At the Daily Mail Piers Morgan reports,