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Scores reported killed in gas attack on Syrian rebel area


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Scores reported killed in gas attack on Syrian rebel area

By Ellen Francis

REUTERS

 

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A man breathes through an oxygen mask as another one receives treatments, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

 

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A suspected Syrian government chemical attack killed scores of people, including children, in the northwestern province of Idlib on Tuesday, a monitoring group, medics and rescue workers in the rebel-held area said.

 

The U.S. government believes the chemical agent sarin was used in the attack, a U.S. government source said, adding it was "almost certainly" carried out by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

 

The Syrian military denied responsibility and said it would never use chemical weapons, echoing denials it has made over the course of the more than six-year Syrian civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands, created the world's worst refugee crisis and drawn in nations such as Russia, Iran and the United States.

 

The attack sparked political recriminations. U.S. President Donald Trump blamed it on his predecessor Barack Obama's "weakness" on Syria, while a Syrian opposition figure said it was a consequence of recent U.S. statements suggesting a focus on stopping Islamic State militants rather than ousting Assad.

 

If confirmed, the incident reported in the town of Khan Sheikhoun would be the deadliest chemical attack in Syria since sarin gas killed hundreds of civilians in Ghouta near Damascus in August 2013. Western states said the Syrian government was responsible for that attack. Damascus blamed rebels.

 

The head of the health authority in rebel-held Idlib province said more than 50 people had been killed and 300 wounded in the latest incident. The Union of Medical Care Organizations, a coalition of international aid agencies that funds hospitals in Syria, said the death toll was at least 100.

 

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack killed at least 58 people and was believed to have been carried out by Syrian government jets. It caused many people to choke and some to foam at the mouth.

 

Director Rami Abdulrahman told Reuters the assessment that Syrian government warplanes were to blame was based on several factors such as the type of aircraft, including Sukhoi 22 jets, that carried out the raid.

 

"We deny completely the use of any chemical or toxic material in Khan Sheikhoun town today and the army has not used nor will use in any place or time neither in past or in future," the Syrian army command said in a statement.

 

The Russian Defence Ministry, whose forces are backing Assad, said its aircraft had not carried out the attack. The U.N. Security Council was expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss the incident.

 

Reuters photographs showed people breathing through oxygen masks and wearing protection suits, while others carried the bodies of dead children. Corpses wrapped in blankets were lined up on the ground.

 

Activists in northern Syria circulated pictures on social media showing a man with foam around his mouth, and rescue workers hosing down almost-naked children squirming on the floor.

 

BLAME GAME

 

Mounzer Khalil, head of Idlib's health authority, said hospitals in the province were overflowing with victims.

 

"This morning, at 6:30 a.m., warplanes targeted Khan Sheikhoun with gases, believed to be sarin and chlorine," he told a news conference.

 

Warplanes later struck near a medical point where victims of the attack were receiving treatment, the Observatory and civil defence workers said.

 

The attack sparked a blame game within the United States.

 

Trump faulted Obama for not enforcing a 2012 "red line" against the use of chemical weapons and suggested the attack was "a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution."

 

An Obama spokesman declined comment.

 

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued an appeal for Russia and Iran "to exercise their influence over the Syrian regime and to guarantee that this sort of horrific attack never happens again."

 

In contrast, Syrian opposition member Basma Kodmani blamed recent statements by Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that suggested the new U.S. administration could live with Assad remaining in power for the time being.

 

"This is a direct consequence of American statements about Assad not being a priority and giving him time and allowing him to stay in power," Kodmani told Reuters via text, saying the U.S. officials' comments amounted to "a blank check for Assad."

 

The incident was condemned by a host of leaders, including the president of France, who directly blamed Syrian government forces, and Britain, which said Assad would be guilty of a war crime if his government was proved responsible.

 

The U.N. envoy for Syria said the "horrific" chemical attack had come from the air.

 

A U.S. intelligence official told Reuters the episode "has the fingerprints of a regime attack."

 

In February, Russia, backed by China, cast its seventh veto to protect Assad's government from U.N. Security Council action, blocking a bid by Western powers to impose sanctions over accusations of chemical weapons attacks during the conflict.

 

A series of investigations by the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found that various parties in the Syrian war had used chlorine, sulfur mustard gas and sarin.

 

The OPCW said it had begun "gathering and analysing information from all available sources" about the suspected Khan Sheikhoun attack.

 

Turkey, which backs the anti-Assad opposition, said the attack could derail Russian-backed diplomatic efforts to shore up a ceasefire. Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said 15 people hurt in the attack, mostly women and children, had been taken to Turkey.

 

TOXIC ARSENAL

 

Idlib province contains the largest populated area controlled by anti-Assad rebels - both nationalist Free Syrian Army groups and powerful Islamist factions including the former al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

 

Idlib's population has ballooned, with thousands of fighters and civilians shuttled out of Aleppo city and areas around Damascus that the government has retaken in recent months as Assad has gained the upper hand in the war.

 

The United States has also launched a spate of air strikes in Idlib this year, targeting jihadist insurgents.

 

Following the 2013 attack, Syria joined the international Chemical Weapons Convention under a U.S.-Russian deal, averting the threat of U.S.-led military intervention.

 

Under the deal, Syria agreed to give up its toxic arsenal and surrendered 1,300 tonnes of toxic weapons and industrial chemicals to the international community for destruction.

 

U.N.-OPCW investigators found, however, that it continued to use chlorine, which is widely available and hard to trace, in so-called barrel bombs dropped from helicopters. Chlorine is not a banned substance, but the use of any chemical is banned under 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, to which Syria is a member.

 

(Additional reporting by Laila Bassam in Beirut, Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam, Ercan Gurses and Tulay Karadeniz in Ankara, Daren Butler in Istanbul, Robin Emmott in Brussels, John Irish in Paris, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva, Steve Holland, Mark Hosenball, Lesley Wroughton, Arshad Mohammed and Yara Bayoumy in Washington and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Andrew Roche and Peter Cooney)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2017-04-05
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The gas bomb dropped on Idlib, terrible. So far it looks like Sarin gas was used. Who dropped it? Let's wait and see.

What you need to do is look at the graphic videos of this gas attack. Probably the worst video I've seen since the beheading of foreign in Iraq. Young children suffocating in the open air. 10's of suffocating people strewn as far as the eye can see. Just disgusting that people can do this to other people.

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What a sad story!  we are in 21st century and still chemical attacks.

it looks like there is no one to stop this!

and those videos of the kids?:(( many suffocated and died horribly.  babies!!! tears fell from my eyes:((

RIP and patience for the families (if any left!!!)

 

So Russia, will you be sleeping ok tonight by supporting and backing such a bloody dictator gassing his own people, killing babies? and Putin, will you?

and US? where are your so called redlines?? so are those redlines work according to your agenda? you were sooo fast to bomb and invade Iraq with claims like they have NBC weapons!!! (which nothing has been found yet so far) 

UN where are you? what is your function? a club to talk, eat, s..it, staying in good hotels, drinking some good wines from taxpayer money? UN just better close the shop!!! bc it does not function and its boss is US so functions accordingly.

this happened many times and last time, a thousand was dead from a gas attack in 2014 with at least 500 of them very children and babies. many other gas attacks happened in between in small scale but world closed their eyes!

Hopefully this time, there will be a hard action but dont think so as killed babies are not Christians or Jews! it is just 'muslim killing muslim' which is favorable for many!!!

shame for whoever responsible or this (Syrian bloody dictator Assad, Russia, US, UN, Europe and all countries around, shame on you for closing your eyes on this!!!)

blood of those innocent babies are on your hands!!

 

Image below is a bit graphic but i think it it necessary for all humans to see this to feel ashamed of their humanity!!!

 

 

 

 

Syria_56050.jpg

Edited by Galactus
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2 weeks ago US gov said they no longer looking to remove Assad. Next thing Assad gas his own ppl then bomb hospital where they are treeted. Obvious false flag.

 

The other thing is, notice they carry bodies without proper protection. If there were sarin used they be dead.

 

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2 minutes ago, Xaos said:

2 weeks ago US gov said they no longer looking to remove Assad. Next thing Assad gas his own ppl then bomb hospital where they are treeted. Obvious false flag.

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
 

 

Obvious how?

 

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2 hours ago, Xaos said:

2 weeks ago US gov said they no longer looking to remove Assad. Next thing Assad gas his own ppl then bomb hospital where they are treeted. Obvious false flag.

 

The other thing is, notice they carry bodies without proper protection. If there were sarin used they be dead.

 

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

such a nonsense. just show respect a bit for the hundreds dead!

maybe assad thought he can do whatever he wants as anyway, Trump US said they are not looking to remove him?

sorry but you spread lies here. there were many similar chemical weapon attacks before too which made bloody Assad sign a treaty with US with a slap on the wrist for not using chemical weapons anymore.

Edited by Galactus
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such a nonsense. just show respect a bit for the hundreds dead!
maybe assad thought he can do whatever he wants as anyway, Trump US said they are not looking to remove him?
sorry but you spread lies here. there were many similar chemical weapon attacks before too which made bloody Assad sign a treaty with US with a slap on the wrist for not using chemical weapons anymore.


Did u do any research at all?

Trupm said removing Assad is no longer US top prioryty. Then Boom bad Assad throws Sarin. Its very potent gas right, somehow they walk around bodies no protection. Do u want me to believe that?

Previous gassings were debunked too, u just need search deeper then on CNN

Heres one https://news.vice.com/story/assad-accused-of-chemical-attack-on-civilians-as-trump-administration-softens-opposition

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2 hours ago, Xaos said:

 


Did u do any research at all?

Trupm said removing Assad is no longer US top prioryty. Then Boom bad Assad throws Sarin. Its very potent gas right, somehow they walk around bodies no protection. Do u want me to believe that?

Previous gassings were debunked too, u just need search deeper then on CNN

Heres one https://news.vice.com/story/assad-accused-of-chemical-attack-on-civilians-as-trump-administration-softens-opposition

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
 

 

so what do you say? all those people and babies inhaled the sarin gas voluntarily to death in purpose??!

it is already confirmed that gas used is sarin. check around.

moreover, there are evidence that planes involved on this.

no need for conspiracy theories! no need to make the clear waters muddy too. this is a very clear event that Russian backed bloody assad uses chemical weapons to kill people. with russian planes and russia educated murderer pilots.

Edited by Galactus
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My gut tells me this isnt assad.....actually im "almost certain" it isnt. 

 

Its just someone who wants to make it look like assad did it....to undermine the Donald as usual. 

 

They must think we're all fools. 

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2 hours ago, Xaos said:

 


Did u do any research at all?

Trupm said removing Assad is no longer US top prioryty. Then Boom bad Assad throws Sarin. Its very potent gas right, somehow they walk around bodies no protection. Do u want me to believe that?

Previous gassings were debunked too, u just need search deeper then on CNN

Heres one https://news.vice.com/story/assad-accused-of-chemical-attack-on-civilians-as-trump-administration-softens-opposition

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
 

 

 

The link provided does not "debunk" Assad's forces using chemical weapons, quite the opposite:

 

Quote

A joint investigation by the U.N. and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found in October that Syrian government forces had used chlorine on at least three occasions in 2014 and 2015, while ISIS had used sulphur.

 

In January 2016, OPCW said a sample from a victim of one attack showed the presence of sarin or a similar substance. In February, Human Rights Watch accused government helicopters of dropping chlorine bombs on rebel areas of Aleppo during the final stages of the battle for the city.

 

Edited by Morch
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I don't think this is Assad's act. 

Assad's forces have been winning ground fast in recent times. Assad wouldn't risk international condemnation and possible foreign military intervention.

 

This is some kind of jihadi ploy I think, and sadly many sections of the West seem to be buying into it. 

 

By the way, for example, I generally like CNN but they hardly ever give voice to the Syrian government side. That is bad journalism.

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This makes no sense at all for Assad to be the culprit. In light of Assad working with the Russians, with Trump saying Assad was no longer a priority for removal it simply makes no logical sense. I have no idea who did do it but simply a view on who I think did not do it. By using these weapons Assad would have zero to gain and even more to lose than he has already. However there are some other groups that could benefit greatly from the use of these weapons.

 

I always find it strange how some (the same) Western Governments leap to immediate conclusions on this stuff before a thorough investigation is even considered. The news and opinions gets out so quick as if it is almost............well anyway.

Edited by Andaman Al
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So all of the worlds "intelligence" agencies cannot say who did this. Despite heaps of satellites hovering over the region, heaps of agents on the ground, lots of finance guys following the money trails. What a disgusting joke. RIP the innocents, stick it up your bottom to all the superpowers that interfere in the politics but never call out the bestards who stoop down to the bottom of the septic tank to do this

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So Assad's airforce bombs a building known by them to store chemical weapons.
Thus Assad is not using chemical weapons, smart move unless the aircrafts bombs were chemical, just to be sure they were bombing a chemical store place, but then Russia would deny planes were carrying chemical bombs. It was the rebels for sure.


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12 hours ago, JHolmesJr said:

My gut tells me this isnt assad.....actually im "almost certain" it isnt. 

 

Its just someone who wants to make it look like assad did it....to undermine the Donald as usual. 

 

They must think we're all fools. 

First (and likely last) time one finds at least partial agreement with this poster. Also agree many willingly blinkered Trump supporters do look like fools.
 

There's reportedly a crater at the initial site thus, not from a factory etc. Assad has the upper hand now so did not need to risk a renewed backlash. So, who besides Assad has free range of air space in Syria? Trump's pal, comrade Putin. Both need an URGENT diversion as Russia-gate complicity really heats up,  to make it appear Trump and Putin are actually adversaries (suddenly). Assad is utterly reprehensible but also a mere pawn to be used and then tossed under the Kremlin bus at any time deemed convenient. Meanwhile the murder of innocent children do not matter one jot to any parties in this unholy trinity. Not a conspiracy post, just a considered and disgusted opinion.

 

 

Edited by sujoop
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18 hours ago, Andaman Al said:

This makes no sense at all for Assad to be the culprit. In light of Assad working with the Russians, with Trump saying Assad was no longer a priority for removal it simply makes no logical sense. I have no idea who did do it but simply a view on who I think did not do it. By using these weapons Assad would have zero to gain and even more to lose than he has already. However there are some other groups that could benefit greatly from the use of these weapons.

 

I always find it strange how some (the same) Western Governments leap to immediate conclusions on this stuff before a thorough investigation is even considered. The news and opinions gets out so quick as if it is almost............well anyway.

 

There doesn't have to be any "sense". Assuming that all (or most) events are connected, that there is an inherent "logic" governing how things unfold is a choice.

 

There is no specific reason to assume that all involved parties operate under the same set of rules, the same priorities or that they apply similar considerations. Even if they do, it implies a further assumption that they are all coordinated, and able to accurately gauge the actions and reactions of each other.

 

A very neat and orderly system. Quite reassuring as well. Makes it easier to explain stuff like this attack.

 

Assad's considerations (assuming he personally ordered this) could be different - sending a tough message to remaining opponents, hastening Idlib's fall, trying to implicate the opposition. Or, this could have been a mistake, a miscalculation, or just a not particularly bright decision. The point made is that the factors we apply are usually those easily accessible to our take of stories, which is often an outsider's view.

 

Western governments react quickly because it serves their agenda and because they know that months could pass before a shot at a half-hearted investigation would come about. In pretty much the same way other governments jump to condemn any supposed Western failure, that's how these things go.

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On 4/6/2017 at 4:56 AM, Andaman Al said:

This makes no sense at all for Assad to be the culprit. In light of Assad working with the Russians, with Trump saying Assad was no longer a priority for removal it simply makes no logical sense. I have no idea who did do it but simply a view on who I think did not do it. By using these weapons Assad would have zero to gain and even more to lose than he has already. However there are some other groups that could benefit greatly from the use of these weapons.

 

I always find it strange how some (the same) Western Governments leap to immediate conclusions on this stuff before a thorough investigation is even considered. The news and opinions gets out so quick as if it is almost............well anyway.

I always find it strange how some comes with conspiracy theories to fit what they think!

There are a lot of evidences first of all, you should do a small research before posting misleading information here.

And of course action should be quick! innocent people and babies are getting killed there everyday!

 

I think Assad though like 'Hey, anyway USA is supporting me now so do Russia, UN and Europeans so i can do whatever i can and murder people, like i ordered the chemical attack in 2013 which resulted on a 1000 deaths."

This is what Assad was thinking.

And, anyway, you cannot predict the actions of a mental bloody dictator!

 

 

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On 6 April, 2017 at 0:57 PM, sujoop said:

There's reportedly a crater at the initial site thus, not from a factory etc. Assad has the upper hand now so did not need to risk a renewed backlash. So, who besides Assad has free range of air space in Syria? Trump's pal, comrade Putin. Both need an URGENT diversion as Russia-gate complicity really heats up,  to make it appear Trump and Putin are actually adversaries (suddenly). Assad is utterly reprehensible but also a mere pawn to be used and then tossed under the Kremlin bus at any time deemed convenient. Meanwhile the murder of innocent children do not matter one jot to any parties in this unholy trinity. Not a conspiracy post, just a considered and disgusted opinion.

 

You sound like you have been binge-watching Homeland.

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On 4/5/2017 at 11:19 PM, JHolmesJr said:

My gut tells me this isnt assad.....actually im "almost certain" it isnt. 

 

Its just someone who wants to make it look like assad did it....to undermine the Donald as usual. 

 

They must think we're all fools. 

Well, if you're correct then Trump is certainly one of those fools.

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