On March 16 of 1988, the Iraqi Air Force attacked the Kurdish town of Halabja with multiple chemical agents that resulted in the ghastly death of over 5,000 men, women, and children. The attack started with MIG jets dropping Napalm bombs.

Many more died later from medical complications. During surveys conducted by local doctors, it was discovered that miscarriages increased by 10 times and Colon Cancer increased by 14 times; in addition to other respiratory illnesses and skin and eye problems. I am told that towns that have been attacked with chemical weapons almost never recover from the scars of these attacks.

As the savagery of Saddam unleashed hell upon his people, Syrians are facing similar circumstances today. The stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Syria is of concern not only to the Syrians fighting the regime but also to the international community fearing Assad may use his chemical weapons to attack other countries.

Sadly, the Free Syrian Army involved in defending the civilian population has no access to protective gear, medical expertise, or even the slightest knowledge of how nerve agents like VX, Sarin, or Tabun kill. These organophosphate gases are the most commonly used in warfare today. It is believed the Saddam regime attacked the Kurds using Mustard Gas, Sarin, VX, and Tabun.

This concern has led an innovative, Florida-based American company called Rapid Pathogen Screening, Inc. (RPS), which specializes in the manufacture of biochemical warfare agents detection devices called PlasmaTox, to donate its knowhow to protect Syrians from a possible onslaught in regions most likely to be attacked by Assad.

The PlasmaTox device provides Syrians with a life-saving opportunity to detect exposure to chemical agents for maximum protection but it also sends an important signal to Assad that we are watching him. Concurrently, Assad needs to know that the world will not allow another brutal dictator to kill at will using his illegal stockpile of WMD.

Speaking on behalf of all Syrians fighting for their freedom, we thank all those individuals who, behind the scene, helped us with this humanitarian effort. Syrians won’t forget their friends.

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