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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Report: Syrian government used chemical weapons in Aleppo

Syrian government forces carried out at least eight chemical attacks during the final weeks of the battle for Aleppo, killing nine people including four children, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Monday, according to AFP.

The group said it interviewed witnesses, collected photos and reviewed video footage indicating that chlorine bombs were dropped from government helicopters during the offensive from November 17 to December 13.

Around 200 people were injured by the toxic gases used on opposition-controlled areas of the northern city, it said.

The HRW report said one of the deadliest bombings hit the neighborhood of Sakhur on November 20, killing six members of the same family, including four children.

It further detailed attacks on a playground, clinics, residential streets, and houses that left scores of people struggling to breathe, vomiting and unconscious.

"The chemicals would affect the children most severely... they inhale these smells and they end up suffocating," said a first responder quoted in the report.

The attacks, which may have involved as many as three helicopters operating jointly, took place in areas where government forces were poised to advance, said the rights group.

"The pattern of the chlorine attacks shows that they were coordinated with the overall military strategy for retaking Aleppo, not the work of a few rogue elements," said Ole Solvang, HRW's deputy emergencies director. READ MORE