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Characteristics of chemical attacks

Emel Altıntaş, MD, Ali Kaan Ataman, MD


Background: The use and storage of chemical weapons in war was banned. However, chemical weapons continue to be used in wars. Therefore, in this study, we tried to identify the chemical agents used by defining the characteristics of chemical attacks.

Method: We designed our study using the international dataset that can be accessed from Chemical attacks between 1970 and 2020 were recorded in terms of decade, type of attack, success, suicidal purpose, property damage, number of deaths and injuries, and agents used.

Results: A total of 347 attacks were reported. The highest number of attacks was 162 (46.7 percent), which occurred between 2010 and 2020. Among the chemical agents used, acidic substances (39, 11.2 percent), chlorine gas (32, 9.2 percent), and tearing agents (24, 6.9 percent) were found to be the most common. When the distribution of the five most common chemical agents by years was examined, it was found that the use of chlorine gas gradually increased in the last three decades. In the last decade, it was found that the use of mustard gas increased, whereas cyanide was not used.

Conclusion: In the last decade, we found that chemical attacks have increased more, especially chlorine and mustard gas were predominantly used.


chemical attacks, chlorine gas, mustard gas

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