Chemical Attack In Syria Kills Dozens, Syrian Government Denies Reports
Dozens of Syrians in Douma have died by suffocation, following reports of a chemical attack. Douma is currently the last rebel-held enclave in the eastern part of the country near the capital Damascus. The alleged attack comes amidst days of heavy bombardment by government forces in an effort to assert control over the town.
Many of the dead are reportedly women and children. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring agency says that more than 20 people have died and 70 wounded in the Ghouta region.
Photos circulating on social media show lifeless bodies piled in basements. Death tolls vary, with the pro-opposition group White Helmets saying more than 40 people killed, but those reports cannot be independently verified.
UOSSM, a medical aid association with doctors stationed in the Intensive Care Unit in Douma detail to NPR a one-two chemical attack. The first attack appeared to use chlorine gas. Most in the ICU were treated and apparently survived. The second, stronger chemical attack followed a half hour later - deploying a gas that hit homes and penetrated basements. Medical workers report a chlorine odor, however they believe the second attack was mixed with a stronger chemical agent, causing instant death.
According to the Syrian Civil Defense and SAMS, people went to the hospital showing "signs of respiratory distress, central cyanosis, excessive oral foaming, corneal burns, and the emission of chlorine-like odor."
Chlorine attacks have been used frequently in Syria, as recently as the last few weeks.
President Trump, who recently told a crowd in Ohio that "We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon" took to Twitter this morning to condemn the attack, and calling for a "Big price..."
Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018
....to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018
If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018
Trump had previously launched airstrikes against Syria following a chemical attack in the northern part of the country. He also pointed to Iran and Russian president Vladimir Putin for supporting the Syrian government.
The State Department says it is monitoring the situation in Syria, calling the acts horrific and if confirmed, demanding "an immediate response by the international community." Russia, with its "unwavering support" ultimately bears the responsibility for the suffocation of Syrian civilians, the Department said.
Both Russia and the Syrian government deny the reports of the chemical attack, calling them bogus and "fabricated."