British companies sold sodium fluoride, a key ingredient in the manufacture of the deadly nerve gas sarin, to a Syrian firm from 2004-2010, British media reveal, a sale that has been called ‘disturbing’ following the chemical weapons attack in Damascus.
Between July 2004 and May 2010, the British government issued five export licenses to two companies, allowing them to sell Syria sodium fluoride, necessary for the production of sarin, according to a report in the Daily Mail, a British daily.
Sarin, a nerve gas that is hundreds of times deadlier than cyanide, is considered one of the world’s most dangerous chemical warfare agents. It works on the nervous system, over-stimulating muscles and vital organs, and a single drop can be lethal in minutes. The US, France and Germany say the deadly chemical was used in the attacks of August 21 in the Damascus neighborhood of Ghouta that left hundreds of civilians dead or injured.
The Sunday Mail says UK firms did export sodium fluoride to a Syrian cosmetics firm throughout the six years for what they claim were legitimate purposes. The daily quotes British MPs admitting for the first time that the chemical was delivered to Syria which has been condemned as a ‘grossly irresponsible’ move and a clear violation of international protocol on the trade of dangerous substances.
British MPs signaled their extreme displeasure with the shocking revelations.
"These are very disturbing revelations uncovered by The Mail on Sunday regarding the provision of sodium fluoride to Syria. At no time should we have allowed President Assad’s regime to get its hands on this substance,” Thomas Docherty MP, a member of the Commons Arms Export Controls Committee, said on Saturday.........