File - In this undated file photo from World War I, German Red Cross members carry bottles of liquid to revive those who have succumbed to gas bombs during battle. (AP Photo)
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Exactly one century ago Wednesday, German troops opened the taps on a line of chlorine tanks to send a poisonous cloud drifting across no man's land and into World War I Allied trenches.Reports from Syria about chemical weapons used in that conflict also involve chlorine – a widely available substance that has legitimate industrial and commercial uses.Both sides denying using chemical weapons while accusing the other of poison attacks.The first large-scale use of chlorine as a weapon, at Ieper, Belgium, on April 22, 1915, unleashed massive use of gas by both Germany and the Allies during the last three years of the 1914-1918 war. Chemical weapons killed nearly 100,000 and injured around 1 million more during the conflict. The world's two biggest owners of chemical weapons, the United States and Russia, are methodically destroying their stockpiles.The country admitted owning about 1,300 tons of chemical weapons and ingredients for making toxic gas and nerve agents.
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