At Least 58 Dead in Suspected Chemical Attack in Syria
In the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, in the mostly rebel-controlled Idlib province, at least 58 have died and hundreds more were wounded in an attack that seems to have involved chemical or gas weapons.
Exact reports of the death toll vary, with some relief organizations estimating the count at closer to 100. According to those reports, all victims in the airstrike attack were civilians. Video footage of the attack’s aftermath has surfaced, depicting extremely graphic images, including dead children, people lying unconscious and many struggling to breathe.
Although all chemical weapons are banned under the International Chemical Weapons Conventions, it is unclear what substance was used in the attack, but preliminary reports have suggested chlorine gas or sarin gas, according to victims’ symptoms.
In response to the attack, the U.N. called an emergency meeting to replace the one scheduled on Wednesday, and began investigating the event as a potential war crime. The United States and its allies have blamed Bashar Al-Assad’s government for the attack, but the Syrian government denied ever having used chemical weapons. It still remains unclear who orchestrated the attack-Syrian forces, Russian forces or terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
After an attack using the nerve agent sarin gas in 2013, Syria became a party to the International Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013, and as part of that agreement gave up its chemical arsenal.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an independent monitoring agency, has found that the Syrian government engaged in chlorine gas attacks on both rebels and civilians in 2014 and 2015, but the claims were still disputed by Assad’s government.
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