Britain will airlift chemical agent detection kits to Syria @BPW
U.K. government sources said the Ministry of Defense equipment would give Syrian rebels the ability to detect and identify suspected chemical weapons. The shipment followed claims from the rebels that a poison gas attack initiated by the government killed at least 25 people on Tuesday, the Telegraph reports.
"Protective equipment in the MOD stores is very effective for activists engaged against the regime on the ground and if it is known that kits are deployed we judge it less likely that the regime would use it," a U.K. official involved in the planning, said, according to the Telegraph. "But if there are chemicals used it will allow the rebels to detect it accurately and the world to react."
Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime and its opposition both traded accusations of deploying chemical weapons this week in the town of Khan al-Assad, near Aleppo.
British officials said the provision of chemical weapons suits, air monitoring equipment and analysis kits as a major need for the Syrian opposition. The U.K. will also send body armor and armored vehicles to the front line via Turkey within the next few weeks.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said the threat of chemical weapons was one reason to consider completely removing an embargo on the rebels.
"I felt sitting round the European Council chamber there was a slight similarity between some of the arguments that were being made about not putting more weapons into Syria that seemed to me to be very familiar to the discussions we had about Bosnia and the appalling events that followed," Cameron said, according to the Telegraph.
Robert Ford, the U.S. envoy to Syria, said America had yet to see evidence to substantiate the use of chemical weapons, the Telegraph reports.