An infographic guide to Syria’s chemical weapons, how they work and how to destroy them

Syria is thought to have one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons. Those weapons have recently been used against Syrian civilians, compelling the world to respond to the country's two-plus-year civil war. So it's worth taking a step back to understand the weapons that have become so central to the Syrian crisis and how they work. This infographic, produced by The Washington Post, is a great introduction.

The infographic explains what chemical weapons do to people – it's pretty horrible – and how they're delivered. It also explains how chemical weapons are destroyed – a crucially important subject now that the U.S. and Russia have agreed in principle to a deal to remove Syria's chemical weapons outright, which would be no easy task in the middle of a civil war.


Sources: Paul Walker, expert in arms control and nonproliferation at Green Cross International; Philipp C. Bleek, assistant professor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies; Ray Zilinskas, director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Bonnie Berkowitz and Todd Lindeman/The Washington Post)

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Max Fisher · September 16, 2013