22 Syria rebels hit by IS chem­i­cal at­tack: army

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Twenty-two pro-Ankara Syr­ian rebels were hit by a chem­i­cal gas at­tack from Is­lamic State (IS) ji­hadists in north­ern Syria, the Turk­ish army said yes­ter­day. “Af­ter a rocket was fired by Daesh (IS), 22 op­po­si­tion mem­bers were ob­served to have been ex­posed in their eyes and bod­ies to chem­i­cal gas,” the gen­eral staff said in a state­ment, quoted by the state-run Anadolu news agency.

It said the at­tack hap­pened in the area of the vil­lage of Khaliliya, east of Al Rai in north­ern Syria. Turk­ish me­dia said that the af­fected Syr­ian fight­ers were brought over the fron­tier to the Turk­ish bor­der town of Kilis by teams from Turkey’s AFAD emer­gen­cies agency.

The re­ports said that the Turk­ish emer­gency work­ers were equipped with spe­cial chem­i­cal suits to pro­tect them­selves. The Syr­i­ans were brought to the main hospi­tal in Kilis where they are cur­rently un­der­go­ing treat­ment.

Tele­vi­sion pic­tures showed some of the Syr­i­ans be­ing trans­ferred on stretch­ers to the hospi­tal, with the emer­gency work­ers dressed in full-body white pro­tec­tive cloth­ing and gas masks. The Turk­ish army is back­ing the Syr­ian fight­ers in an un­prece­dented in­cur­sion aimed at root­ing out IS ji­hadists from the bor­der area and also en­sur­ing there is no Kur­dish mili­tia pres­ence.

In a three-month op­er­a­tion, the rebels have so far cap­tured the IS strong­hold of Jarab­u­lus, cleared IS from Al Rai and re­taken the sym­bol­i­cally im­por­tant town of Dabiq with­out much re­sis­tance.

With Turk­ish sup­port, they are now press­ing to take Al Bab from the ji­hadists in an ad­vance that ap­pears to be tak­ing more time and en­coun­ter­ing greater op­po­si­tion. — AFP

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