IDF medics to carry diazepam

The Israeli Defense Force recently acquired tens of thousands of doses of a medical countermeasure used to combat the effects of nerve agents, such as VX and sarin.

The IDF plans to dispense the drug - diazepam - to all of its combat medics in the coming months. Until now, medics were supplied with atropine, which counters the effect some chemical agents have on the respiratory system. Diazepam, an anticonvulsant, protects the nervous system, according to

Diazepam was previously available only in an intravenous form and only distributed to battalion medical centers in the rear echelon.

"Now the medics receive auto injectors, enabling treatment half an hour to an hour earlier than before, and also enabling treatment to 10 times more people," Lt. Col. Dr. Micah Ksirer, the chief of nonconventional warfare medicine in the IDF's medical corps, said, reports.

The change comes amid growing international fears that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may begin to deploy his chemical stockpiles for use against the strengthening opposition.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the increasingly desperate regime could try to use the weapons against the Syrian people or lose control of them to many of the independent opposition groups fighting against the government.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that the acquisition of chemical weapons by Hezbollah, which may be operating in Syria, would push Israel to war.