In DepthChemical Warfare

Scientists clash over paper on Syrian sarin attack

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Science  27 Sep 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6460, pp. 1362
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6460.1362

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Summary

On 4 April 2017, a chemical attack killed more than 80 people in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun. U.S. intelligence agencies and the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded that the Syrian government had dropped a bomb filled with the nerve gas sarin on the rebel-held town. Now, a modeling study questioning that conclusion has caused a heated dispute among scientists. The paper was scheduled for publication by Science & Global Security (SGS), but as Science went to press, SGS's editors had decided to suspend publication amid fierce criticism and warnings that the paper would play into the hands of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Russian government. Both have denied Syria is responsible.

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