AS 58 SYRIAN citizens lie dead, Human Rights monitors have accused the Syrian regime of using chemical weapons against its own people – not for the first time. Rebel forces fighting the Government have also been accused of using chemical weapons in the past.
The latest allegations were made by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. They concern an attack on Khan Sheikhoun, a town in north-western Syria some 30 miles south of Idlib. The town is held by the rebels and the Government is trying to reclaim it.
The allegation is that Syrian and Russian aeroplanes bombed the town in the early hours of Tuesday morning, leaving people on the ground with breathing difficulties, and went on to fire rockets at hospitals in the area, including the one people affected by the bombing had gone for treatment.
Eye witnesses confirmed going to the area and finding people struggling to breathe, with symptoms including vomiting, foaming at the mouth and fainting, and with constricted pupils – key signs of an attack by Sarin, a nerve gas, one of the most dangerous chemical weapons.
The claims that chemical weapons had been used were denied by the Syrian military on behalf of the Syrian Government and by Russia’s Ministry of Defence. Local reports put the number of dead as between 58 (including 11 children) and 100, with up to 300 being injured.
Use of chemical weapons is considered to be a war crime by the international community. Interfering in the Middle East in an attempt to manipulate the oil market and supplying weapons to despots who use them against their own people is not.