Syria: Hundreds Killed in Chemical Attacks

Opposition activists in Syria said that people have been killed by attacks using chemical weapons in areas surrounding Damascus, the country’s capital.

The activists said that on Wednesday rockets had been launched into the Ghouta region suburbs and contained toxic agents. The rockets were part of a bigger bombardment the government forces used to attack rebel forces.

Sana the news agency operated by the government of Syria said the activists’ claims were completely baseless and were a way to distract the weapons inspectors from the UN.

The largest opposition alliance announced the death of over 500 people from the attacks. Networks of activists reported that the number of deaths was in the hundreds, but none of that could be confirmed independently.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary of the UK called for the government of Syria to give immediate access to that area to investigators. Hague also said the issue would be raised by Britain with the UN.

If the attacks using chemical weapons are confirmed, it would be a shocking escalation in chemical weapons use in Syria, said Secretary Hague.

Reports also said that the Arab League had called for the site to be inspected by UN inspectors.

Activists uploaded footage on YouTube from the area of the attack and it shows people receiving treatment inside makeshift hospitals.

The videos also show a number of victims having convulsions, including young children. Other victims appear to be immobile and having problems with breathing.

Nevertheless, the footage was not authenticated, but based on other confirmations it is thought to be genuine footage.

Inspectors arrived last Sunday and are scheduled to start investigating three locations, not including the site of Wednesday’s alleged attack. One site they are to investigate is in the northern region of Syria near Khan al-Assal, a town where 26 people lost their lives in March.

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