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In 1938, while attempting to find more effective insecticides and weed killers to improve German agricultural output, a team headed by Dr. Gebhard Schrader discovered tabun (ethyl dimethyl amidophosphorcyanidate), a powerful nerve gas that attacks the body's central nervous system.
Once this fact was realized, a specialized plant was set up at Dyhernfurth on the Oder River in Poland. Sarin (isopropyl methyl phosphorofluoridate) was a refined version of tabun, but more deadly--able to kill a person in minutes.
As the Soviets liberated Poland, they discovered the plant, and when the Allies arrived, there was nothing left. The plant had vanished. The third nerve gas, soman, was never put into production.
One of the known antidotes for sarin poisoning is atropine, but it must be administered within minutes to be effective. As of June 2013, 189 countries had signed the Chemical Weapons Convention to ban chemical weapons. Syria was not a signator.
Christopher Lee Ford