Report: Evidence suggests Syrian troops used toxic chemicals

The group's report said people near the sites of three attacks exhibited symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals.

By: Press Trust of India | Beirut | Updated: April 14, 2015 5:24 pm
FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014 file photo provided by the anti-government activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Jihadi fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and other rebel factions, rest after clashes with Syrian troops in Wadi Deif in the northwestern province of Idlib, Syria. The Nusra Front, Syria's al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, File) FILE – In this Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014 file photo provided by the anti-government activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Jihadi fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and other rebel factions, rest after clashes with Syrian troops in Wadi Deif in the northwestern province of Idlib, Syria. (AP Photo/Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, File)

An international human rights group says evidence “strongly suggests” that Syrian government forces used toxic chemicals in several barrel bomb attacks in northwestern Syria last month. Human Rights Watch quotes rescue workers as saying the attacks in Idlib province from March 16 to March 31 affected at least 206 people, including 20 civil defense workers. It said one attack killed six civilians, including three children.

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The group’s report, released today, said people near the sites of three attacks exhibited symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals, and gas canisters were among the barrel bomb remnants. It said witnesses also described a strong chlorine smell. Chlorine was first introduced as a chemical weapon in World War I. Most nations banned its use in war in the Geneva Protocol of 1925.

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