Syrian rebels making homemade gas masks

Masks made from container, coal, cotton soaked in soda; rebels say alerts of imminent use of chem. weapons by regime are more frequent.

Syrian free army gas mask370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
Syrian free army gas mask370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
Fighters in the Free Syrian Army were not taking chances and have started to create "homemade" gas masks fearing that the Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime will use chemical weapons against them in the coming days.
Abu-Tarek one of the rebel fighters said, "I use information that I found on the internet and from my military service in order to create masks made from an empty container, coal and cotton soaked in a carbonated liquid drink."
Abu-Tarek who is fighting in a battalion based in the Turkmen mountains in the Latakia Governorate added he is aware that his invention "would not protect his skin from extended exposure to chemical weapons" but he added that the mask is better than using a wet towel.
"My invention can give me enough time to abandon the site where chemical weapons were used," Abu-Tarek said.
Warnings are becoming more frequent that Assad's regime will use chemical weapons in the near future, according to Abu-Tarek and the members of his battalion.
"We know that the regime's army distributed genuine gas masks to its soldiers in the the Latakia Governorate," one of the rebels said, adding "We also are aware of testimony heard in the past few months, principally from doctors in the region of Aleppo about the use of chemical weapons and the injury of civilians." 
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US President Barack Obama warned Assad on Friday that any use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war would be a "game changer" but cautioned that intelligence assessments that such weapons had been deployed were still preliminary.
Obama was speaking a day after the White House said for the first time that Assad's government had likely used chemical weapons on a small scale. 
Earlier in the week on Tuesday, Brig.-Gen. Itai Baron, head of the Research Division at Israeli Military Intelligence, stated that the Assad regime was using chemical weapons.
Speaking at a conference held by the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Baron said that Assad has access to an enormous arsenal of chemical weapons, and that some of those deadly arms have already been put to use, including the probable use of poisonous Sarin gas.
Yaakov Lappin and Reuters contributed to this report.