'Regime Gas Attack' Kills Six in Syria

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Six people, including three young children, were killed in an alleged regime gas attack in northwestern Syria late Monday, a monitoring group and opposition activists said.

The attack prompted outrage from rights group Amnesty International, which said it was further evidence of regime "war crimes."

"Three children, their mother and father, and their grandmother suffocated to death after regime barrel bomb attacks" on their village in Idlib province, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Britain-based group said doctors in the village of Sarmin, southeast of the city of Idlib, concluded that the manner of death indicated a gas, possibly chlorine, had emitted from the barrel bombs. 

Activists in Sarmin said chlorine gas had been used and published videos of a chaotic field hospital where disoriented victims coughed and held gas masks over their faces as children cried in the background.

They also published videos of people trying to revive three young children who lay motionless in the field hospital. The victims appeared pale and covered in sweat, with dark circles around their eyes and a clear liquid coming out of their noses and mouths. 

The three children, who all appeared to be no older than three, were pronounced dead. Pictures of their tiny bodies wrapped in white cloth were shared widely on social media. 

An Agence France-Presse videojournalist on the ground filmed the wounded receiving oxygen at a field hospital after the attack.

"This is the first time we've experienced a poison gas attack," paramedic Motea Jalal said.

"We grabbed the masks we had. They are for fires, not for gas attacks, but that's what is available."

He told AFP that paramedics retrieved the wounded and tried to wash the chemicals from the bodies, adding that more than 100 people were in need of treatment.

Activists have accused the Syrian regime of using chlorine -- a toxic agent that can be considered a chemical weapon -- on civilian areas in the past.

In January, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said chlorine gas had been used in attacks on three Syrian villages in 2014.

The watchdog said it had a "high degree of confidence" that the gas had been used and reported that at least 13 people had been killed in the attacks.

It did not however attribute responsibility for the attacks, though its report cited witnesses saying they heard helicopters, which only the regime possesses, before the bomb attacks occurred.

- 'Psychopathic dictator' -

Syria's opposition National Coalition said the regime's use of chlorine violated a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in March after the OPCW's report.

The resolution condemned use of chlorine in the conflict and threatened action if it was used again.

Opposition chief Khaled Khoja condemned the attack on Twitter, writing: "The psychopathic dictator (Bashar Assad) continues to kill by chemicals and challenges the international laws."

President Assad's regime has been criticized by rights groups for using barrel bombs, crudely constructed weapons packed with explosives typically dropped by helicopter.

Ibrahim al-Idlibi, an activist from the area, said two rounds of barrel bombs were dropped on the village.

"In the second round, civil defense volunteers were trying to protect the civilians by splashing water on them. But this is when they started suffocating," he said.

Damascus did not have to declare its stocks of chlorine under a 2013 agreement to dismantle its chemical arsenal as it is widely used for commercial and domestic purposes.

But use of the gas for military purposes would be a breach of its undertakings under the Chemical Weapons Convention, which it signed as part of the deal.

Comments 6
Thumb _mowaten_ 17 March 2015, 11:27

chlorine gas inside barrel bombs? that does not even begin to make sense, especially when we know Syria renounced its entire arsenal of chemical weapons under international control. Shame on rami abdelrahman for covering up this new takfiri PR-stunt, where they probably killed these children deliberately to create some accusations against the regime.
here you go, qaeda showing off their chemical weapons back in 2012 and testing them on rabits (with puke music included)

Missing ArabDemocrat.com 17 March 2015, 11:45

Mowaten - Chlorine was never covered under the agreement to destroy Syria's Chemical weapons and has been used several times by the Assad regime. As for liveleak web site, this has very little credibility.

Thumb _mowaten_ 17 March 2015, 12:15

lol, i see you took the denial 101 course.

Thumb _mowaten_ 17 March 2015, 12:18

how about this source? is it credible enough for you?

Thumb shab 17 March 2015, 19:20

Sarin on Sarmin

Missing peace 18 March 2015, 09:07

mooowaten: never wasting an opportunity to defend bashar's regime... making him a proud accomplice of all the crimes this regime did to lebanese...