Major reports by two Turkish daily newspapers detail the arrest of twelve suspects linked to the Reyhanlı bombings on May 11 in which 51 people were killed and 140 injured. The 12 suspected Al-Qaeda members were arrested in Adana, southern Turkey and anti-terrorist police seized among other items, 2 kilograms of the sarin nerve agent.
Zaman reports that the dawn raid took place on Monday, 27 May following intelligence gathered on the cell.
Additionally, today, Radikal reported that of the 12 arrested suspects of Jabhat al-Nusra, 5 were released.Radikal also reported the seizure of the nerve agent sarin which is categorised as a weapon of mass destruction in the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.
On May 3, Syria Report published an extensive report on Al-Qaeda and it’s history of chemical weapons use, including the deployment of sarin.
Sarin, or GB, is a colourless, odorless substance which is extremely difficult to detect. It is used as a chemical weapon owing to its extreme potency as a nerve agent. It has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction in UN Resolution 687. Production and stockpiling of sarin was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 where it is classified as a Schedule 1 substance. Sarin gas is not particularly difficult to manufacture.
Once inhaled, the nerve agent affects the signaling mechanism that nerve cells use to communicate with each other. Sarin is a cholinesterase inhibitor (it gums up the cholinesterase enzyme), which your nerve cells use to clear themselves of acetylcholine. When a nerve cell needs to send a message to another nerve cell (for example, to cause a muscle to contract), it sends the message with the acetylcholine. Without cholinesterase to clear the acetylcholine, muscles will start to contract uncontrollably. This eventually causes death by suffocation since the diaphragm is a muscle. Once inside your body, it usually causes death in 5 to 12 hours. If you were trapped in a one-cubic-meter closet with 100 milligrams of sarin in the air, inhaling it would kill you in 1 minute.
This is the second major official confirmation of the use of chemical weapons by Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria after UN inspector Carla Del Ponte’s recent statement confirming the use of chemical weapons by the Western-backed terrorists in Syria. The Turkish anti-terrorist police are currently conducting further investigations into the operations of Al-Qaeda linked groups in Turkey.
The major reports from Turkish media have not yet been echoed by mainstream media outlets.
In other significant news today, a video announced the merger between the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo’s Al-Bab and Jabat al-Nusra.
Many thanks to Seıf for bringing the articles to our attention.
Many thanks to Philip George, a Romania-based military and weapons expert, for additional reporting.