'I Couldn't Save Anyone. They're All Dead Now'

A father's lament in Syria
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2017 3:15 AM CDT
Updated Apr 6, 2017 6:35 AM CDT
In this picture taken Tuesday, Abdel Hameed Alyousef, 29, holds his twin babies who were killed during a suspected chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria.   (Alaa Alyousef via AP)
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(Newser) – The toll from Tuesday's chemical attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun now stands at more than 80—including 22 members of a single extended family. The Alyousef family was one of the town's main clans, and 29-year-old survivor Abdel Hameed Alyousef has had to bury his 9-month-old twins (a son and a daughter), along with his wife and other family members, the AP reports. The shopkeeper, who's being treated for exposure to toxins, says that when airstrikes hit, he was with the twins and his wife. He says he brought them to paramedics, thinking they would be OK and went to look for other family members, but he found only bodies. "I couldn't save anyone. They're all dead now," he says. Relatives later said that his wife and the twins, Aya and Ahmed, had also died.

At least 30 children and 20 women were among the victims of the attack, and authorities say the toll could still rise. "Many are still missing. We are afraid to enter homes sometimes lest we find more people dead," says Alaa Alyousef, another surviving member of the clan. Syria has denied responsibility, though witnesses say they saw a Syrian army jet drop three conventional bombs on the rebel-held town Tuesday morning, along with one that made little sound but left a cloud of white smoke, Reuters reports. Medecins Sans Frontieres says the victims it has treated had symptoms that suggest exposure to sarin gas. President Trump has called the attack an "affront to humanity" and said it is "his responsibility" to deal with Syria. (Read more Syria stories.)

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