26/08/13 15:21 CET
| updated xx mn ago
| updated at xx
Chemical weapons were first used on a large-scale during the First World War, a conflict that also came to be known as ‘The Chemists’ War’.
German and French troops threw shells at each other containing chlorine and phosgene, causing many who inhaled the gases to die of asphyxiation.
Some 100,000 men lost their lives and a further one million lived with the after-effects.
By 1925, more than 30 countries had signed the Geneva Protocol which banned the use of chemical weapons.
However, the Geneva Protocol did not stop some countries developing their chemical weapons.
German chemists worked on a cyanide-based pesticide called Zyklon B. The Nazis used Zyklon B in the gas chambers to kill an estimated 1.2 million people – mainly Jews, but also Gypsies and gay people. Victims usually died within 20 minutes.
In an effort to deprive guerilla fighters of food, the US army sprayed close to 67 million litres of Agent Orange over Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. It is a herbicide known to lead to adverse effects in humans. Hundreds of thousands of people were burnt or died and even more children were born with birth defects.
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein first used chemical weapons during the war with Iran in the early 1980s.
Later on in the same decade, Iraq’s Kurds became the victims, as Saddam and his Ba’ath party carried out ethnic cleansing in the north of the country. The most infamous attack was on the village of Halabja in March 1988.
Thirteen people were killed and nearly 5,000 injured after apocalyptic group Aum Shinrikyo released sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway system in March 1995. Cult leader Shoko Asahara was sentenced to death. The subway attack served as a warning of the possible use of chemicals by terrorists.
There have been allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria since last December, when rebels accused the government of poisoning people in Homs. At the time, many Western countries agreed that if toxic agents were being used, Damascus would be crossing a “red line” that could trigger foreign military intervention.
- 1Leopard enters Indian school, mauls six people
- 2Japanese volcano erupts on nuclear power station island
- 3Aleppo: Germany and Turkey come up with a 10-point action plan
- 4Pegida fails to ignite as Europe-wide anti-Muslim protests fizzle
- 5One of world’s biggest container ships stranded on German river
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2International news | euronews, latest international news
- 3Madrid to appeal Catalan road to independence from Spain
- 4Hope vs harsh reality: challenges to global education goals in the 21st century
- 5Turkey: Explosion hits Istanbul’s main tourist district
- 6Partnering to grow Europe
- 7Extras : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 8Jorge Lorenzo clinches his third MotoGP title in Valencia
- 9Thousands in Bucharest blame corruption for Friday’s nightclub blaze
- 10Moldova: protesters storm Parliament
- 11Macedonian Postcards: The Mavrovo National Park
- 12Paris: “I would rather see my brother in prison than in a cemetery”
- 13Benzema questioned in French sex tape case
- 14Special Reports : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 15latest Learning World - All Programmes | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 16Norway sends Syrian refugees back to Russia
- 17Merroussis clinches the 33rd Athens Authentic Marathon
- 18Brussels remains on high alert: ‘multiple operations underway’ across Belgium
- 19Evo Morales celebrates his birthday by playing football
- 20Business news and finance news | euronews: international economic and finance news
Wires > News
- 12:34 CET Bosnian Serb general Zdravko Tolimir dies in The Hague
- 12:08 CET Rubio needs strong New Hampshire showing to rebut debate critics
- 12:02 CET Suicide blast near Damascus police club kills several – interior…
- 11:58 CET Swedish prosecutor preparing new application to interview Assange
- 11:53 CET Slovak PM says EU will either control migration this year or…
- 11:35 CET Eight dead, 150 hurt in train crash in Bavaria – police
- 11:33 CET Iraqi military advance reconnects Ramadi to key army base
- 11:28 CET Insight – Brazilian studies aim to unravel Zika’s link to birth…