Syrian opposition says 35 civilians killed in chemical attack
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Syrian opposition says 35 civilians killed in chemical attack

Regime denies accusations; hundreds said injured as Assad’s forces step up offensive on Douma

Smoke billows in the town of Douma, the last opposition holdout in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, on April 7, 2018, after Syrian regime troops resumed a military blitz to pressure rebels to withdraw (AFP PHOTO / STRINGER)
Smoke billows in the town of Douma, the last opposition holdout in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, on April 7, 2018, after Syrian regime troops resumed a military blitz to pressure rebels to withdraw (AFP PHOTO / STRINGER)

Syrian rebels accused the Bashar Assad regime of attacking civilians in the eastern Ghouta region with chemical weapons on Saturday, killing some 35 people and injuring hundreds.

Eight children were among the dead in the town of Douma, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on sources on the ground.

Syrian American Medical Society, a medical relief group, said the regime bombed a hospital with chlorine gas, killing six, and then attacked a nearby building with “mixed agents” including nerve gas, Reuters reported.

Opposition activists in Douma posted photographs of people wearing gas masks and saying that government forces were shelling the town with poison gas.

State media denied the reports, saying “such farces about chemical weapons” were triggered by the troops’ quick push toward Douma.

Government forces resumed their offensive on rebel-held Douma on Friday afternoon after a 10-day truce collapsed over disagreement regarding evacuation of opposition fighters.

The violence resumed days after hundreds of opposition fighters and their relatives left Douma toward rebel-held areas in northern Syria.

A reporter for Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV embedded with Syrian troops near Douma said government forces advanced toward Douma from the towns of Misraba and Madiara that were recently captured by troops.

Al-Manar TV is run by Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group, which has sent thousands of fighters to Syria to back government forces.

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