Syria Opposition: Images Show Regime Used Poison Gas

Country ships out another baatch of chemical weapons
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 14, 2014 3:12 AM CDT
In this Friday, April 11, 2014 image provided by the Shams News Network, a man lies on the floor with an oxygen mask at a hospital room in Kfar Zeita.   (AP Photo/Shams News Network)
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(Newser) – The Syrian government and the opposition have blamed each other for reported poison gas attacks in the rebel-controlled village of Kfar Zeita; now, the opposition says it has images that point the finger at the regime. Activists released images and video of an unexploded canister marked with the chemical symbol for chlorine. They say the canister turned up in Kfar Zeita, though Reuters notes it can't verify the report. A UK-based expert isn't certain, but he tells Reuters that "It looks like (the government has) taken an industrial chlorine cylinder, put it in (an) improvised barrel bomb, and dropped it out of a helicopter."

The government, for its part, is blaming an al-Qaeda-linked group, the Nusra Front. Both sides agree that chlorine gas was used. The chemical isn't among those Bashar al-Assad declared to international officials in a deal to destroy toxic weapons, Reuters notes. In other news from Syria:

  • A 13th batch of chemical weapons was shipped today from Syria, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says, per the AP. That means 65% of the declared substances have left the country. But "the frequency and volumes of deliveries have to increase significantly" if Syria is to meet a June 30 deadline to destroy the full stockpile, says the watchdog's director.
  • Assad says the war has reached a "turning point"—"both militarily in terms of the army's achievements in the war against terror, and socially in terms of national reconciliation processes and growing awareness of the truth behind the (attacks) targeting the country," AFP notes, via the Guardian. Syrian warplane attacks yesterday on the edge of Damascus killed 13, says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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