Suspected chemical attacks killed at least 100 people in Syria’s rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib on Tuesday and left another 400 suffering from respiratory problems, a Syria medical relief group said. The death toll is likely to rise, according to the Union of Medical Care Organizations, a coalition of international aid agencies that funds hospitals in Syria and which is partly based in Paris.
The group said the village of Khan Sheikhoun to the south of Idlib had initially been hit before strikes on the White Helmets emergency services centre in Khan Sheikhoun and the Al-Rahme hospital.
“We have seen more than 40 strikes since 06h30,” it said. “The toll continues to increase as do the strikes in the Idlib region as well as non-chemical attacks in Hama,” the group said.
Meanwhile, a Syrian military source has strongly denied the army had used any such weapons.
Reflecting on the incident, a United Nations spokesman said that any use of chemical weapons is “extremely alarming and disturbing.” “Any sort of report of use of chemical weapons, especially on civilians is extremely alarming and disturbing. Any use of chemical weapons anywhere constitutes a threat to peace and security and is a serious violation of international law,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
The Russian Defence Ministry said its aircraft had not carried out the attack. The U.N. Security Council was expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss the incident.