Even as intense fighting continues between government forces and rebels, the Syrian government has claimed that a “terrorist group” carried out a gas attack that killed five people in the city of Aleppo on Tuesday, according to the state-run news agency SANA.
“Five civilians were killed and eight others suffered suffocation due to a terrorist attack with shells containing poisonous gas,” city’s health director Mohamad Hazouri told SANA.
Another chemical attack in Saraqeb in Idlib provice came to light after an activist group said a chlorine gas attack had been carried out. It was unclear if the attacks have any connection.
“Cylinders suspected of containing chlorine gas were dropped in the residential areas in a northern Syrian city on Tuesday,” anti-regime, voluntary search-and-rescue group Idlib Civil Defence said in a statement posted to its Facebook page.
About 30 people, mostly women and children, have been affected.
The Syrian National Council, a coalition of opposition groups, blamed the Assad regime for the alleged attack and called on the United Nations to “shoulder its responsibilities towards stopping such attacks”.
The alleged attack occurred in the same province where a Russian helicopter was shot down on Monday, killing all five people on board.
Meanwhile, Russia has rejected the reports and said they were false information. The US has officially not confirmed on the use of chemical as of yet.
Members of Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (erstwhile Al-Nusra Front) have a strong presence in Idlib province, as do other rebel groups fighting against the Syrian regime. Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham recently severed its ties to Al Qaeda.
According to the Syrian American Medical Society report (SAMS), 161 documented chemical attacks have led to at least 1,491 deaths and 14,581 injuries from chemical exposure.
Chlorine, a common industrial chemical, is banned for use in weapons by Chemical Weapons Convention. Chlorine gas can cause victims to become short of breath and to foam blood from the mouth.
(With inputs from IANS/Agencies)