Syria accuses rebels of deadly chemical attack
Damascus: Syrian state media accused rebels of firing a chemical weapon for the first time on Tuesday in the north of the country, killing 15 people. Rebels quickly denied the report and accused regime forces of firing the weapon.
Neither of the accusations could immediately be verified. The Syrian state news agency SANA said "terrorists" fired a rocket "containing chemical materials" into the area around the village of Khan al-Assal in the northern province of Aleppo. The regime regularly uses the term terrorists to refer to rebels fighting to overthrow authoritarian President Bashar Assad.
SANA said about 15 people, most of them civilians, were killed and a number of others were wounded.
An activist in the area said rebels had recently seized much of the village of Khan al-Assal including a facility that housed a military academy.
The Aleppo Media Center, affiliated with the rebels, said there were cases of "suffocation and poison" among civilians in Khan al-Assal after a surface-to-surface missile was fired at the area. It said in a statement the cases were "most likely" caused by regime forces` use of "poisonous gases."
An activist in Aleppo province who identified himself as Yassin Abu Raed, not his real name, confirmed the attack and said there were at least 40 cases of suffocation in the area and several deaths. But he said no details were available as casualties were being taken to a government controlled area in Aleppo.
Abu Raed declined to give his real name because of security concerns.
He said it did not make sense for the rebels to fire a chemical weapon at an area they had recently seized, and accused the government instead.
"Why would the Free Syrian Army bomb themselves with a chemical weapon?" he asked.
There has been long-standing concerns that Syria`s chemical weapons would be used by one side or the other in the 2-yearold civil war.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said recently that the longer the war goes on, the greater the danger of its institutions collapsing and extremists getting their hands on the Arab country`s vast chemical weapons arsenal.
The reported attack was in an area just east of the city of Aleppo that had seen fierce fighting for weeks before rebels took over a sprawling government complex there last month. The facility included several military posts and a police academy that Assad`s forces have turned into a military base that regularly fires shells at nearby villages
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
More from Health
- PM Narendra Modi's speech at Heart of Asia conference
- Is population control next on central govt's agenda after demonetization?
- Gujarat: Goods train engine catches fire in Surat
- India-Afghanistan thrash Pakistan over terrorism issue in Heart of Asia conference
- Watch: Tracing the journey of Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa from films to politics
- Live: Supporters pay last respects to Jayalalithaa at Rajaji Hall; cremation today evening
- Fake or Real? 'Alien animal' caught on Karnataka-Kerala border
- People want to know whether Jayalalithaa is alive or not; PM Narendra Modi must intervene, says expelled AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa
- Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa's condition continues to remain critical after suffering cardiac arrest
- Jayalalithaa's health condition: AIADMK member from Cuddalore dies after seeing news about Tamil Nadu CM's cardiac arrest