58 Dead in Suspected Chemical Attack in Syria

Opposition group blames government for deaths in Idlib province
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 4, 2017 6:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – A suspected chemical attack in a town in Syria's northern Idlib province killed dozens of people on Tuesday, Syrian opposition activists said, describing the attack as among the worst in the country's six-year civil war. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group put the death toll at 58, saying there were 11 children among the dead, per the AP. Meanwhile, the Idlib Media Center said dozens of people had been killed. The media center published footage of medical workers appearing to intubate an unresponsive man stripped down to his underwear and hooking up a little girl foaming at the mouth to a ventilator. There was no comment from the government in Damascus or any international agency in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

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It was the third claim of a chemical attack in just over a week in Syria. The previous two were reported in Hama province, in an area not far from Khan Sheikhoun, the site of Tuesday's alleged attack. The Syrian American Medical Society, which supports hospitals in opposition-held territory, said it had sent a team of inspectors to Khan Sheikhoun to investigate. The Syrian activists had no information on what agent could have been used, but they say the attack was caused by an airstrike carried out either by the Syrian government or Russian warplanes. The province of Idlib, home to an estimated 900,000 displaced Syrians, is almost entirely controlled by the Syrian opposition. Rebels and opposition officials have expressed concerns that the government is planning to mount a concentrated attack on the crowded province. (Read more Syria stories.)

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