Syria con­flict: Aleppo ‘chlo­rine gas at­tack’ in­ves­ti­gated

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

The UN is in­ves­ti­gat­ing ev­i­dence of a toxic gas at­tack on a rebel-held area of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Rebels said govern­ment forces us­ing chlo­rine gas car­ried out the at­tack which re­port­edly left four peo­ple dead and many in­jured.

The UN spe­cial en­voy for Syria said a chlo­rine at­tack, if con­firmed, would amount to a “war crime”.

The gas is thought to have been chlo­rine, dropped in a bar­rel bomb, said the Syrian Civil De­fence vol­un­teer emer­gency re­sponse work­ers who op­er­ate in op­po­si­tion-held ar­eas.

UN spe­cial en­voy Staffan de Mis­tura con­firmed the global body’s ex­perts were in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports of a gas, be­lieved to be chlo­rine, be­ing dropped on Aleppo.

“There is a lot of ev­i­dence that it ac­tu­ally did take place,” he told re­porters. “If it did take place, it is a war crime and as such it would re­quire every­one . . . to ad­dress it im­me­di­ately.”

Fight­ing has es­ca­lated in Aleppo in re­cent days, with rebels sev­er­ing the govern­ment’s main route to the west of the city.

The of­fen­sive sought to break a siege by pro­gov­ern­ment forces, which en­cir­cled the east in July with the sup­port of Rus­sian air­craft.

Rus­sia has an­nounced a daily halt to hos­til­i­ties be­tween 10:00 (07:00 GMT) and 13:00 from Thurs­day, to al­low in aid.

But UN Emer­gency Re­lief Co­or­di­na­tor Stephen O’Brien said while that would be taken se­ri­ously, a break of up to 48 hours was needed to get enough aid in on lor­ries.

“We have sup­plies ready to roll - food ra­tions, hos­pi­tal sup­plies, am­bu­lances, fuel for gen­er­a­tors, water sup­plies and more.

“We will con­tinue to use all avail­able routes and mech­a­nisms to do this, in­clud­ing cross-line and cross­bor­der op­er­a­tions from Turkey.”

A wit­ness in Aleppo told the BBC there had not been any cease­fire on Thurs­day, con­trary to what the Rus­sians had said.

Ear­lier some of the last doc­tors in the rebel-held east of the city ap­pealed to US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to come to the aid of the 250,000 civil­ians there.

They said that in the past month there had been 42 at­tacks on med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties in Syria, 15 of them on hos­pi­tals where they work.

On Mon­day, the UN said count­less civil­ians had been killed or in­jured in Aleppo in re­cent weeks and hos­pi­tals and clin­ics had con­tin­ued to be tar­geted.

More­over, at­tacks on civil­ian in­fra­struc­ture had left more than two mil­lion peo­ple with­out elec­tric­ity or ac­cess to the pub­lic water net­work for sev­eral days, it added.

Else­where, Rus­sian planes at­tacked tar­gets in the north­ern city of Raqqa, a strong­hold of so-called Is­lamic State.

The city’s water sup­ply had been cut off as a re­sult, the group’s me­dia arm, Amaq, said. An-anti-IS group con­firmed the re­port.

At least 30 peo­ple were killed and 70 wounded in the raids, a UK-based mon­i­tor­ing group said.

The long-range bombers de­stroyed a chem­i­cal weapons fac­tory and a train­ing camp for IS fight­ers, killing a “large num­ber” of them, Rus­sia’s de­fence min­istry said.

In the south­west, the fight­ing in­volved govern­ment forces and their al­lies against rebels in the Ham­da­nia and Ra­mouseh dis­tricts. Planes and he­li­copters took part.

Syrian men and chil­dren fit­ted by med­i­cal staff with oxy­gen masks.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.