News / Middle East

Report: 3,600 Syrians Treated for 'Neurotoxin' Exposure

A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen, Aug. 21, 2013. A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen, Aug. 21, 2013.
x
A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen, Aug. 21, 2013.
A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen, Aug. 21, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says three Syrian hospitals have received about 3,600 patients displaying symptoms of exposure to neurotoxic agents.  This report comes just days after allegations that more than 1,000 people were killed in a chemical weapons attack allegedly carried out by the Syrian government.

Doctors Without Borders said Saturday it has learned that large numbers of patients arrived in the three Damascus hospitals with symptoms including convulsions, excess saliva and blurred vision, and that nearly 10 percent of those patients have died.  Some of the medical and first aid workers treating the people brought in for treatment also found themselves contaminated.

Doctors Without Borders said the overall situation strongly indicates the local population suffered "mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent," adding, "This would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law, which absolutely prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons."  

Syria has denied all allegations that government forces used chemical weapons.  State-controlled media have claimed rebel forces carried out nerve gas attacks this week, and the state news agency SANA reported that soldiers found evidence of this while searching tunnels in the capital city used by "armed terrorists."  

In Washington, a White House official said the United States has a "range of options" if it decides to act against Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons.  U.S. President Barack Obama met with his top national security advisers Saturday to discuss the Syrian situation.

Obama has previously expressed reluctance to intervene in Syria.  U.S. defense officials, however, have recently said Washington is strengthening naval forces in the region.  

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told reporters that Obama has asked the Defense Department for a range of options available if U.S. forces are ordered to take action against the Damascus government.

The U.S. and other world powers have been pushing for a United Nations-led investigation of the chemical weapons allegations, and a top U.N. official arrived in Damascus Saturday to push for access to the site where rockets loaded with poison gas were launched.
 
Russia has spoken out in defense of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but the Syrian ally joined China, the U.S., France, Britain and others in calling for a thorough investigation of the recent events in Syria.

Syrian opposition leaders and activists have released video of large numbers of bodies - many of them of young children - that bear no signs of physical violence of blood.  Those pictures, and separate scenes from hospitals showing patients writhing in agony without apparent wounds - are said to be persuasive indications that they were victims of an attack that used nerve gas or some other deadly chemical agent.

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  State-controlled media in Tehran report he did not assess blame against either side in his comments on Saturday.  Iran is Syria's ally, and its Foreign Ministry has previously said evidence indicates that Syrian rebels launched the attack.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid