UK Government pledges protection to Syrian rebels

Members of the Free Syrian Army battle against government forces. Credit: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

The Government is to give Syrian opposition fighters 5,000 escape hoods to protect against chemical weapons attacks, Foreign Secretary William Hague said today.

Mr Hague said the Government would also be sending "moderate" opposition forces nerve agent pre-treatment tablets and chemical weapons detector paper.

He said the chemical weapons hoods protected against Sarin attacks for up to 20 minutes. Those who wear them are able to move away from an affected area but cannot continue to fight, he said.

Meanwhile the tablets can give those under a chemical weapons attack the time to get to a medical centre to receive atropine, the drug needed to overcome Sarin.