Syria op­po­si­tion claims has ev­i­dence of chlo­rine gas at­tack

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL / MIDDLE EAST & ASIA -

Syr­ian op­po­si­tion ac­tivists have posted pho­to­graphs and video that they say shows an im­pro­vised chlo­rine bomb to back up claims that Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad’s forces used chemical weapons in two at­tacks last week.

Rebels and the govern­ment have blamed each other for the al­leged poi­son gas at­tacks on Fri­day and Satur­day on rebel-held Kfar Zeita vil­lage in the cen­tral prov­ince of Hama, 125 miles north of Da­m­as­cus.

Both sides said chlo­rine gas - a deadly agent widely used in World War I - had been used. The gas, which has in­dus­trial uses, is not on a list of chemical weapons that As­sad de­clared to the global chemical weapons watch­dog last year for de­struc­tion.

It is a so-called dual-use chemical, which would have to be de­clared to the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a spokesman said.

State-run tele­vi­sion on Satur­day ac­cused the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front of car­ry­ing out the at­tacks, which it said wounded dozens.

On Sun­day, ac­tivists from the “Syr­ian Revo­lu­tion in Kfar Zeita” posted video footage and pic­tures of an un­ex­ploded can­is­ter with the chemical sym­bol for chlo­rine, Cl2, on its side which they said was found in the vil­lage.

Reuters could not ver­ify the au­then­tic­ity of the video or pic­tures.

Eliot Hig­gins, a re­spected UK-based re­searcher who trawls daily through on­line videos of Syria’s civil war to ver­ify weapons in them, could not ver­ify the op­po­si­tion’s claims but said the videos did ap­pear to show an in­dus­trial chlo­rine cylin­der.

“It looks like they (the govern­ment) have taken an in­dus­trial chlo­rine cylin­der, put it in a im­pro­vised bar­rel bomb and dropped it out of a he­li­copter,” he told Reuters. Reuters

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