Both opposition forces and the Syrian government have alleged that chemical weapons were used in last Tuesday's attack on the village of Khan al-Assal, bringing to the fore one of the most potentially far-reaching of the many dangers that have arisen during Syria's civil war. Now entering its third year, the Syrian revolt -- by far the longest uprising of the Arab Spring -- is the first in history that threatens to violently topple a government armed with weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This unique case naturally precipitates profound concerns that elements of Syria's large stockpiles of chemical agents and munitions will find themselves in the hands of insurgents or terrorist groups. To date, however, the West has largely ignored the threat of non-state acquisition of such arms, instead focusing its concern around the use of chemical weapons by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Blair, Charles P., and Mila Johns. 2013. "The thin red line." March 26. http://www.thebulletin.org/thin-red-line#!