At least 150 murdered in suspected chemical attack by Damascus on Douma

The Syrian government has been accused of carrying out a chemical attack, using two types of gases, in Douma. While Damascus has denied the allegations, the US said that if the reports are confirmed, the international community will need to react immediately.
Douma after an airstrike (archive) Photo Credit: EPA-EFE

Several Syrian rebel groups and humanitarian organizations accused Damascus of carrying out a massive chemical attack in Douma on Saturday evening. The groups also flooded social media with graphic images and footage of the victims. The Syrian government has denied that it launched a chemical attack on the city.

“Seventy people suffocated to death and hundreds are still suffocating,” Raed al-Saleh, the head of the Syrian aid agency White Helmets, told Al Jazeera. According to al-Saleh, chlorine gas and a stronger gas that has yet to be identified were dropped on the city in Eastern Ghouta.

The aid organizations are claiming that at least 150 people were murdered and over 1,000 were injured in the chemical attack.

The US State Department said that the reports out of Syria are “disturbing” and if confirmed, the international community will need to respond immediately. “The United States continues to use all efforts available to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable. The regime’s history of using chemical weapons against its own people is not in dispute, and in fact nearly one year ago on April 4, 2017, Assad’s forces conducted a sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun, which killed approximately 100 Syrians,” the State Department said in a statement.

“The Assad regime and its backers must be held accountable and any further attacks prevented immediately. Russia, with its unwavering support for the regime, ultimately bears responsibility for these brutal attacks, targeting of countless civilians, and the suffocation of Syria’s most vulnerable communities with chemical weapons,” the statement continued. “By shielding its ally Syria, Russia has breached its commitments to the United Nations as a framework guarantor.”

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