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• Chemical weapons have been used in Syria and have changed the position of major Western governments

• Their use in Syria was illegal under the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which Syria ratified in 1968, and under customary international law

• A UN inspection is under way

• The illegal use of chemical weapons does not affect the legality of outside intervention in Syria, which remains unclear without a Security Council resolution

• The options for military intervention are complicated and expensive

• Public opinion in the UK is firmly against intervention other than humanitarian

• Syria has one of the largest arsenals of chemical weapons in the Middle East

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