Syria war: Chlorine attack on rebel-held Idlib town
|bbc.com 05 Feb 2018 at 02:47|
Nine people were treated for breathing difficulties after a bomb believed to be filled with chlorine was dropped on a rebel-held town in Syria, medics say.
The Syria Civil Defence said three of its rescue workers were among the casualties from the attack on Saraqeb, in the north-western province of Idlib.
The Syrian opposition said the bomb was dropped by a government helicopter.
Another 20 people were reportedly killed in conventional government and Russian air strikes elsewhere in Idlib.
The raids came a day after rebels shot down a Russian Su-25 warplane over the province and killed its pilot on the ground after he ejected.
Image caption Rescue workers searched for survivors after an air strike on a block of flats in Idlib city
A doctor working for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM), a charity which supports hospitals in rebel-held Syria, told the BBC that Saraqeb was struck by a barrel bomb dropped by a helicopter that had taken off from a nearby government base.
People brought to local hospitals after the attack smelt of chlorine, he said, and suffered breathing problems and irritation in their eyes.
and that nine people were affected, including three of its rescue workers, commonly known as the White Helmets.
It also posted a video online showing several men stripped to their underwear being sprayed with water as they struggle to breathe.
The Syrian Civil Defence also reported that six civilians had been killed and 10 others injured in conventional air strikes on residential areas of the town of Kafranbel on Sunday night.
It added that the National Hospital in Maarat al-Numan was taken out of action by three air strikes, .
A statement from the opposition Syrian Coalition strongly condemned what it called a "barbaric onslaught by the Russian occupation and the Assad regime forces targeting mainly civilians and residential neighbourhoods" in Idlib.
It called on the UN Security Council to take immediate action and pass a resolution "condemning Russia s atrocious crimes against the Syrian people".
Chlorine has many civilian uses, but its use as a weapon is banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). If high concentrations of the chemical enter the lungs it can cause death.