Despite European Union sanctions, German companies were involved in exporting weapons-grade chemicals to Syria in the midst of the war, according to a report published on Tuesday.
The deals were uncovered by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, and Switzerland’s Tamedia media group.
According to the report, German chemical wholesaler Brenntag AG sold the chemicals isopropanol and diethylamine to Syria in 2014 using a subsidiary in Switzerland. The recipient was a Syrian pharmaceutical company that had ties to the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Reporters revealed that the diethylamine was produced by German chemicals giant BASF at a plant in the Belgian city of Antwerp. The isopropanol was made by Sasol Solvents Germany GmbH, located in Hamburg.
Although the chemicals can be used to make pharmaceutical drugs, they can also be used in the production of chemical weapons and nerve agents such as VX and sarin gas.
Sarin gas, in particular, has been used in attacks carried out by the Assad regime during the war. The United Nations found that sarin gas used in an attack in 2017 was made using isopropanol. The attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun killed dozens of people.
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