Horrific pictures today revealed the scale of the ongoing slaughter in Syria after government troops regained control of a strategic border town from rebel fighters.
The graphic images purported to show the corpses of rebels killed during the three-week battle over the town of Qusair, which was captured by Bashar Al-Assad’s forces today.
The news comes as British officials confirmed that the deadly nerve gas sarin has been used during the country’s two-year civil war, raising the prospect of Western intervention in the Middle Eastern state.
State television reported this morning that Assad’s troops, backed by the Islamist militia Hezbollah, had seized control of Qusair from the rebels who had held it for more than two years.
The government claimed to have ‘restored security and peace’ and defeated ‘terrorist networks’ in the town.
The loss of Qusair is likely to come as a major blow to the rebels, as the town was crucial to its ability to smuggle supplies into Syria from Lebanon.
Images broadcast by state-run TV channels appeared to show the bodies of rebels lying around the city, and reporters claimed that the fighting had stopped after the government’s declaration of victory.
Yesterday officials from both France and the UK said that tests had proven the use of chemical weapons as part of the country’s civil war.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the presence of sarin was detected by researchers in Paris, adding that it had been used ‘several times’, including at least once by the regime.
France, which is pushing to arm rebels fighting Assad’s army, said the use of the gas was in breach of all international protocols.
The British Foreign Office said that its own tests had independently confirmed the use of sarin and other chemical agents.
Photographs have already been produced of victims including young children dying from the chemicals.
Sarin is odourless, and so hard to detect, often leaving people with no idea that they were have been exposed to the gas.
Read more: Daily Mail