ORIGINAL ENTRY: At least 120 people were injured in Tuesday’s chlorine attack by regime warplanes on an opposition-held area of eastern Aleppo city in northwest Syria, according to doctors and the White Helmets civil defense organization.The attack was on the Sukkari district, which was also hit on Monday by Russian strikes that included a Tochka-21 ballistic missile.White Helmets respond to the attack:A statement from the al-Quds hospital, which received 46 of the patients, said that all were suffering from breathing difficulties and that “a strong smell of chlorine emanated from their clothes”.
A resident said:There was no trace of shrapnel or gaping wounds or anything like that, which I thought was odd. They were just coughing intensely and having trouble breathing, and there was this smell as if a swimming pool had exploded in the area.
Abdulkafi al-Hamdo, an Aleppo activist who arrived in the area shortly after the attack, testified:I saw the horror of all the people. Everyone was scared. They were shocked. They don’t know what to do. “It’s chlorine,” they were saying. “What will they use after this?”
Forced to hand over almost all of its chemical weapons after its sarin attack on Damascus that killed at least 1,400 people in 2013, the Assad regime turned to chlorine, which is not banned under international conventions. Attacks have been regularly carried out, especially in northwest Syria and the Damascus suburbs, killing scores of people and hospitalizing hundreds of others with breathing difficulties.Last month, a UN investigating team finally found the regime responsible for two chlorine attacks in Idlib Province in northwest Syria in spring 2015. Earlier UN inspections had been constrained from assigning blame because of the guidelines set by the Security Council.The Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, tried to dismiss the reports and pointed at Syrian rebels, even though they do not have the aircraft to drop chlorine. The Syrian ambassador, Bashar al-Ja’afari, tried to divert attention by blaming France for the August 2013 sarin attacks. www.mesop.de