The deadliest chemical weapons attack in years in Syria killed dozens of people in northern Idlib province on Tuesday morning,
Several air raids struck rebel-held Idlib in Syria, in what appeared to be a chlorine and sarin gas attack according to local reports.
According to activist Abdulkafi Alhamdo, who lives in Idlib, two attacks struck at around 12:30 am. The third attack took place this morning in Khan Sheikhoun where 58 people, including 11 children under eight-years-old died. Reported, Al Arabiya English Tuesday, 4 April 2017.
A worker from a children’s hospital in Idlib told al Arabiya they were overwhelmed with the amount of injured people from the morning attack, so much so that large numbers of patients were being sent to other hospitals in the city and neighboring towns. Others were sent to the border crossing between Syria and Turkey, Bab el Hawa.
“The situation is horrendous, especially because there is a shortage of oxygen generators, and medicine to treat injuries caused by sarin gas. Many of the injuries were fatal, and there are many children. One problem we are facing is that children that have been affected by the gas are dying on their way to the Turkish border.”
There has been a joint coordination between Bab el Hawa hospital and the Turkish government on sending victims of the chemical attack into Turkey for treatment.
“The symptoms are those caused by a gas like sarin. Pinpoint (constricted) pupils, foaming at the mouth, loss of consciousness, slowed heartbeat.” the hospital woker said.
He said the lack of oxygen generators and shortage of medicine and the capacity of the hospitals being stretched thin has made treatment difficult. “Families are in a state of grief as everyone expects the worst.” he added.
Mounir Aldibo, an eyewitness told Al Arabiya English that the attack took place at 6:55 am on Tuesday morning when four bombs hit the northern area of Khan Sheikhoun.
He said families were confused, unsure whether it was chlorine or saline that was in the air.
“In the beginning we were stopped from getting close to the victims, because it was feared we would choke or suffocate. The only ones allowed to enter and help the victims were the White Helmet rescue team,” Aldibo said.
“When they first fired the rockets, we did not know it was chlorine. Many people wanted to initially go aid the victims, Civilians were rescuing children, we starting pouring water on them, what were supposed to do? We do not have any advanced medical equipment. The highly qualified people we have are only nurses.”
He said there was proof of the attack left by craters in the ground caused by the rockets filled with gas.
Videos were published of children, women, and men choking and fainting, while smoke and foam poured from their mouths.
“This morning, at 6:30 am, warplanes targeted Khan Sheikhoun with gas, believed to be sarin and chlorine,” said Mounzer Khalil, head of Idlib’s health authority, adding that the attack had killed more than 50 people and wounded 300.
“Most of the hospitals in Idlib province are now overflowing with wounded people,” he said in a news conference in Idlib.
Warplanes later struck near a medical point where victims of the attack were being treated, the Observatory and civil defense workers said.
This incident marks the deadliest chemical attack in Syria since sarin gas killed hundreds of civilians in Ghouta near Damascus in August 2013. The international community blamed Assad for the attack.