In the early hours of the morning on Tuesday, August 20–eerily close to the anniversary of Obama’s "redline" speech—an alleged chemical attack occurred just outside of Damascus, taking the lives of hundreds of civilians.
If confirmed a chemical attack, it would be the worst recorded use of chemical weapons thus far in Syria's two-year civil war, and could well lead to "a reaction of force" from the international community. Raw footage of the alleged attack's victims has emerged in the form of a 75-video playlist, via the blog The Revolting Syrian.
Based on the victims' signs of injury, it has been speculated that the perpetrators would have used Sarin and nerve gas. Sarin is a colorless, odorless liquid that was produced en masse shortly after World War II. Both sarin and nerve gas are made up of agents that disrupt the nerve mechanisms transferring signals between organs. The rebel forces and the Assad government are each accusing one another of the attack, and both have subsequently denied accusations, Al Jazeera America reports. There is a team of U.N. Chemical Weapons Investigators who are currently standing by in Damascus, waiting for a green light from the Security Council so that they can investigate and confirm or deny the attack.
The Revolting Syrian is an online activist Tumblr that covers the events in Syria. The website's homepage displays its name on the left and beside it, in Arabic, it says “Yalla leave Bashar;” a statement from the first uprisings in Syria, when things still looked hopeful. They posted a statement about a YouTube user behind the videos. The playlist begins with the attacks taking place; the camera is placed overlooking a hilly suburb at night, the viewer can only see a quick change in light and hear the distant sounds of a weapon of some kind.
The rest of the videos are set in makeshift hospitals in Syria, displaying rows and rows of women, men and children placed next to each other, dead and showing no visible wounds. One of the video starts out pointed towards a man squirming and zooms closer and closer to his face until the end of the video. The videos seem to be collected from a series of camera phones, and some from local news, following civilians and digitally recording their final moments.
“In two days” writes a blogger from The Revolting Syrian, “You and the rest of the world will forget about this massacre the same way you forgot about the rest that have happened over the last 2+ years in Syria. We Syrians however, will never forget. Not the martyrs and not the way the rest of the world sat by and watched this happen to us.”
This article has been edited*