Death tolls rises to 72 from chemical attack in Syria

Ross Houston
April 6, 2017

Syria's rebels, and the Islam Army in particular, are also accused of killing civilians in Syria, but rights watchdogs attribute the overwhelming portion of civilian causalities over the course of the six-year-war to the actions of government forces and their allies.

The Syrian American Medical Society also said hospitals in the area around Khan Sheikhoun had "received patients who suffered symptoms indicative of an organophosphorus compounds agent, a category of toxic gases which includes Sarin". U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson yesterday blamed Bashad al Assad for the "barbaric attack" and urged Russian Federation to reign in the Syrian president. Russia's Defense Ministry said the toxic agents were released when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel arsenal, an account Britain dismissed at an emergency United Nations session called in response to the attack.

Khan Sheikhoun residents said the attack began in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when they heard planes in the sky followed by a series of loud explosions, after which people very quickly began to show symptoms.

Videos from the scene showed volunteer medics using fire hoses to wash the chemicals from victims' bodies.

Russia's defense ministry said that a Syrian airstrike had hit a "terrorist" ammunition depot in the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun, according to a statement posted Wednesday on the ministry's Facebook page.

Turkey said Wednesday that about 30 people were being treated in Turkish hospitals after the attack, adding that it had evidence the strike was caused by chemical weapons.

In January 2016, Kerry enraged Syrian opposition groups when he met with them in Saudi Arabia and announced that the White House expected them to accept the preconditions Russian Federation and Iran had set down for their involvement in peace talks.

He said his team of rescuers was still finding survivors, including two women and a boy hiding in an underground shelter beneath their home. But in 2013, Syria agreed to allow outside forces to destroy its chemical weapons cache, but it appears to have only made a dent in its stockpile, as The Atlantic reported.

The European Union's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said: "Obviously there is a primary responsibility from the regime because it has the primary responsibility of protecting its people".

"These heinous actions by the Assad regime can not be tolerated", he said. He has wrested control of territory from the rebels, including the entire city of Aleppo, in recent months. Rebels and opposition officials have expressed concerns that the government is planning to mount a concentrated attack on the crowded province.

"We are horrified by the latest events in Syria". I strongly deplore the unacceptable massacre that took place yesterday in the Idlib province, where tens of defenceless people were killed, including many children.

He called on the "conscious of those with political responsibility both locally and internationally to cease this tragedy and bring relief to that dear population that for too long has been exhausted by war".

In blaming Assad, Trump did not say how he would respond.

The United States and Russian Federation are trading conflicting assertions about who launched a chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed 72 people.

French president Francois Hollande condemning the attack and called it a "war crime". The move is seen as forcing Moscow to be shamed by supporting the Assad regime even as it's again suspected of a chemical weapons attack.

Despite the appeasing change in policy, Mr. Trump blamed Tuesday's attack on President Obama - calling it a "consequence of the past administration's weakness". "These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a effect of the past administration's weakness and irresolution", he added, suggesting the Obama administration missed an opportunity that is now gone to push harder for the removal of the Syrian president.

Iran, an ally of Damascus, condemned on Wednesday any use of chemical weapons and offered help to the victims. The worst attack was what a United Nations report said was an attack by toxic sarin gas in August 2013 on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta that killed hundreds of civilians.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that he doesn't think it's a coincidence that a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria occurred shortly after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad could remain in power.

Other reports by iNewsToday