Over 200 killed in massive chemical attack near Damascus

August 21, 2013 | By | Reply More

Aug 21, – Pro-opposition activists have said the Syrian government has used chemical weapons during intensified shelling outside the capital, killing scores. The government has denied the reports.

hromedia Over 200 killed in massive chemical attack near Damascus arab uprising1Several pro-opposition groups have accused President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces of carrying out “poisonous gas” attack near the capital on Wednesday.

The attacks took place in the Ghouta region on the outskirts of Damascus, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Britain-based, pro-opposition monitoring group.

Varying death tolls

The Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel reported that at least 500 people were killed in the shelling. The Syrian Local Coordination Committees, a group that document violence across Syria, put the number of dead at more than 600, reporting the “brutal use of toxic gas by the criminal regime in parts of Western Ghouta.”

Activists posted pictures online of a makeshift hospital with people, including children, being treated on the floor.

Another activist group, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, posted videos on YouTube showing what it called “a terrible massacre committed by regime forces with toxic gas, leaving dozens of martyrs and wounded.”

The news agency Reuters reported that Bayan Baker, a nurse at Douma Emergency Collection facility, said the death toll from the attack was 213.

“Many of the casualties are women and children. They arrived with their pupils dilated, cold limbs and foam in their mouths. The doctors say these are typical symptoms of nerve gas victims,” she said.

None of the casualty reports could be independently verified.

Government rejects accusations

The Syrian government has denied the reports. State television quoted a source as saying there was “no truth whatsoever” to the allegations. The source said the reports were meant to distract a United Nations chemical weapons team from their mission.

A UN team of experts is currently in Syria investigating claims that chemical weapons were used in attacks earlier this year. Both the government and opposition forces blame each other for the attacks.

The United States and several European countries that have aligned themselves with the Syrian opposition have said they believe Assad’s government has used chemical weapons in the past. Washington says the government’s alleged use of the weapons crossed a so-called “red line” that warranted international military aid to the opposition. Russia, an ally of Assad, has accused rebel fighters, rather than the Syrian government, of using chemical weapons.

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat contributed to this report.

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Category: Arab uprising

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