News / Middle East

Syrian Opposition Says Assad Forces Used 'Poison Gas'

People, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, are treated at a hospital in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus August 21, 2013.
People, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, are treated at a hospital in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus August 21, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
An amateur video showed an opposition activist clutching what appears to be the bodies of two newborns and accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of responsibility for their deaths.

Activists claim Syrian troops on Wednesday unleashed an artillery and rocket barrage that included some toxic agents against several Damascus suburbs.

The activists posted videos online showing scores of bodies of adults and children laid out on the floor of makeshift clinics with no visible signs of injuries.

Alleged casualty figures were contradictory with some opposition activists claiming that as many as 1,600 people were killed and others putting the death toll at several hundred.

The alleged attacks came several days after United Nations weapons inspectors arrived in Damascus to investigate previous alleged attacks of chemical weapon use by the government and rebels.

Top Syrian opposition leader George Sabra told a press conference in Istanbul that the Syrian government has shown disrespect for the inspectors and their mission.

"The Syrian government has mocked the inspectors by placing restrictive conditions on their ability to investigate. Evidence has either deteriorated or been destroyed and the Syrian government anticipates that any condemnation will be hollow," said Sabra.

  • Activists wear gas masks as they look for dead bodies and collect samples to check for chemical weapon use in Zamalka, Damascus, August 22, 2013.
  • An activist wearing a gas mask stands next to a dead dog as he looks for bodies to collect samples to check for chemical weapon use, in Zamalka, Damascus, August 22, 2013.
  • Syrian activists inspect the bodies of people they say were killed by toxic gas near Damascus, August 21, 2013.
  • A man sits in a hospital near two children who activists say were affected by toxic gas near Damascus, August 21, 2013.
  • People, affected by what activists say is toxic gas, are treated at a hospital in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus August 21, 2013.
  • A youth, affected by what activists say is toxic gas, is treated at a hospital near Damascus, August 21, 2013.
  • A Syrian military soldier holds his Ak-47 with a sticker of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Arabic that reads, "Syria is fine," as he stands guard at a check point on Baghdad street, in Damascus, August 21, 2013.
  • A Syrian military soldier checks the trunk of a car at a check point on Baghdad street, in Damascus, August 21, 2013.

A Syrian Army spokesman says government forces have not used chemical weapons against its own people but says that the government has a duty to pursue what he called “terrorists.”

"The accusations of chemical weapons use are part of an ugly media war waged by outside nations and media against Syria. The army has a duty to fight terrorism and protect its citizens. Rebel forces are making allegations in a desperate attempt to hide their defeat," he said.

Opposition activists made contradictory claims of what weapons may have been used in Wednesday's alleged attack with several claiming that long-range rockets were used and others alleging the use of smaller, multi-tube Grad rockets.

Syrian Information Minister Omran Zohbi, who has said on several occasions that Syria does not have chemical weapons, told journalists that the government would never use chemical weapons against its people:

"The military operations are taking place in the eastern suburbs of the capital and that the army is fighting terrorist groups. It would be illogical to use chemical weapons under such circumstances," said Zohbi.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
August 21, 2013 8:45 PM
It is too late for assad he has already lost because he has already commited criminal acts and he must face his crimes. He will never lead a country again and anything he does now in Syria is considered terrorist acts.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 21, 2013 2:49 PM
Syria is simply a state of confusion. It is as intriguing as it is interesting. In Syria the US can afford to fraternize with its arch enemy - al qaida and all the terrorist militant groups in the world finding a common ground to meet in Syria. In Syria, the US can afford to fund them and provide their social needs to fight Al Assad. Now the US has brought out in Assad the beast in a president. Before the Syrian Spring, Assad, though a good friend of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (or his proxy, Ahmadinejad), Hezbollah and Hamas, had been seen as a moderate willing to allow the Middle East peace take hold despite his connection with these extremists.

Now Assad has grown horns. Like the beast he is hungry for blood and more blood. He is backed by Russia and China to do it with impunity. He has Iran to fan his embers. He has Hezbollah to give him covering fire. Who is going to stop |Assad now? Not even the UN where his mentors will veto every legislation that might prove counter to his goals. Who will wrestle Syria from Assad? There is no need for a fret. After all he used to be a good boy to the West. Only show him a mellowing down and he will prove the good boy in him. That is only when the conflagration is over. But voice of reason: he must be preferred to the terrorist to win, otherwise an ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF SYRIA will greet the headlines - if the wars goes the other way.

by: FRANCIS EGU LANSANA from: VAHUN,LOFA
August 21, 2013 11:35 AM
Syrians, see what is happening to you. Would you continue to kill your brothers, sisters, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, relatives and friends only because EU will investigate to know who is doing the killing? To me it will be a very big mistake to do. Surely if EU cares, let her help to stop the war instead of finding out who is using the chemical weapon. It is indeed true that you may not love or don't want the current president to continue his tenure, but see what is happening to the people who may have no business (Position) in government. Do you think war is the best way to resolving your difference? To me i say no because the same people you think are not properly care for by the government are the same people you are killing; if this is true, you and the president, who is doing more harm to the people?

If you think someone is helping you with guns and other war materials and you are considering this people to be doing good, to you i say it is a "Lia". This person equally hate as he/she hate the person you don't want to see in power. War is not the end to the problem instead it is the beginning to the problem. Therefore stop the war and called for election if you are the best choice for the Syrian, they will vote for you in an election. What you are doing is not democracy rather it is a destruction. If giving gun to fight for power is the best way to ascend, why the person who is giving the gun can use the same gun to get to power in his or her country. My brothers and sisters, these people don't love you. Stop the war now and forever live happily.
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 21, 2013 3:01 PM
Hey FRANCIS EGU LANSANA from: VAHUN,LOFA, hold your peace! Who asked you to speak so? These people need to be busy otherwise they will be doing things that you - even you far from them - will regret. Let them keep busy, the EU, UN and AL will find who is using what in the war. Afterall the manufacturers of those weapons are actually looking for market, money, and they also want to cover up their sales of weapons to terrorists. How do they succeed if they don't use fools in Syria? Please keep your advice to yourself. Thanks any way.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs