Syrian opposition, activists report chemical attack in Idlib
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Syrian opposition, activists report chemical attack in Idlib

Government helicopters said to drop at least 2 barrel bombs containing chlorine on town of Saraqeb, triggering cases of suffocation

A child victim of a suspected chlorine attack in Idlib, Syria, in March 2015 (screen capture: YouTube)
A child victim of a suspected chlorine attack in Idlib, Syria, in March 2015 (screen capture: YouTube)

UNITED NATIONS — Syrian activist groups are reporting another chemical attack in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Several Idlib-based groups say government helicopters dropped at least two barrel bombs containing chlorine on the town of Saraqeb, triggering cases of suffocation.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights, which is based outside the country, has tweeted that 12 people were “suffocating.”

The reports could not be independently verified.

The head of Syria’s main opposition group in exile says it received the reports Wednesday during an informal meeting with the UN Security Council behind closed doors.

Khaled Khoja with the Syrian National Coalition urged the council to act on its resolutions, including one that threatens action against the use of chemical weapons.

Activists have reported several attacks since the resolution was adopted last month.

The UN Security Council last month approved a resolution condemning the use of toxic chemicals in Syria and threatening action against any violations.

But neither the UN nor the global chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has a mandate to assign blame in the attacks, though the OPCW this year condemned the use of chlorine in Syria as a breach of international law. Council members have asked the OPCW to look into the previous attacks.

The council found rare agreement on Syria in the fall of 2013 to order the removal and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, but chlorine was not declared as a chemical weapon. The chemical does not have to be declared because it is also used for regular purposes in industry.

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