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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid