Syrian government forces are massing for an attack on the last rebel-held stronghold of Idlib. Some believe the coming offensive could finally end the devastating civil war which has been raging for seven years and cost the lives of over 350,000 people. Along with Russian airpower, chemical weapons have helped Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad seize the initiative in the brutal conflict.
A new BBC investigation has found evidence of 106 chemical attacks across the country since September 2013. Only a few of those attacks made news headlines, suggesting the weapons have been used repeatedly. The highest number of incidents occurred in Idlib Province, with other notable instances happening in the neighbouring provinces of Hama and Aleppo.
At least 51 of the 106 reported attacks were carried out by aircraft. When it comes to the chemicals used by Syrian government forces, chlorine is believed to have been used in 79 incidents. Sarin, which is considered 20 times as deadly as cyanide, was also used on several occasions.
This chart shows the number of attacks in Syria involving chemical weapons.
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