Scores of people were injured and at least 70 dead in an attack using toxic chemical at dawn on Tuesday, in northern Syria. The attack was on a rebel-controlled area, and many eyewitnesses and survivors claim the gas was dropped by warplanes.
Doctors confirmed that patients’ symptoms were consistent with exposure to banned toxic phosphorous compounds (eg. sarin). Eyewitnesses who helped get the injured to safety claim that victims had constricted irises, and bled from the mouth and nose. They also reportedly suffered repeated convulsions.
Scenes of blood and gore were splashed across televisions as the already chaotic lives of the Syrian people were thrown out of gear yet again. Among the dead 17 were women and 20 of them children, according to the statistics provided by the Syrian Human Rights Observatory. The death toll is expected to go up as several are reported to be still missing.
Soon after the incident, world leaders were quick to point fingers at the Assad regime, blaming them for the cowardly attack. Several of them went on record to say that those responsible for this shameful act should be held accountable. There was widespread condemnation of the attack across the world, with leaders from USA, EU and Britain holding the Syrian government responsible for the unfortunate massacre.
Britain’s Theresa May was very blunt in stating categorically that there can be no future for the Assad regime in Syria after this incident. President of the United States Donald Trump described the act as ‘heinous’, and one the world cannot afford to ignore. Meanwhile, he also laid part of the blame on ex-president Obama. He stated the attack was the result of a weak US administration in the past.
Following the chemical attacks on Ghouta province in 2013, a surrender by Syria of all its sarin supplies was facilitated under the watchful eye of a team from the United Nations. However, suspicions are being raised that part of the stock was held back.
Bashar Assad and his security forces have denied the charges and claimed that they had ceased using chemical weapons four years ago. With the backing of Russia, the Syrian forces had managed to recapture Aleppo last December. Many claim this has emboldened them to launch more strikes.
The ongoing war in Syria has led to the massive influx of refugees from here to multiple European countries. Countries like France and Germany, which took in a large number of refugees, have to now deal with housing and keeping track of them. With millions displaced since the war began and the increasing use of chemical warheads, there seems to be no end in sight to the turmoil.