At least 50 people injured in suspected Syrian rebel poison gas attack

At least 50 people injured in suspected Syrian rebel poison gas attack

At least 50 people injured in suspected Syrian rebel poison gas attack

At least 44 civilians suffered suffocation as a result of a rebel attack with "poisonous gas" in Syria's northern city of Aleppo on Saturday, state TV reported.

The ministry alleged that "certain states" had enabled the militants to get access to chemical weapons, and blamed the Syrian government for it.

"According to preliminary information, confirmed particularly by the victims' symptoms of poisoning, the shells that were fired at residential areas of Aleppo were filled with chlorine", defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a briefing, quoted by Russian news agencies.

Government shelling killed three children and two women on Saturday in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, where Russian Federation and Turkey agreed on a buffer zone, a monitoring group said.

Earlier, the Observatory for Human Rights rights, a network of activist groups that monitor the conflict, said about 100 people, including women and children, had been treated for breathing difficulties following a strike on western parts of Aleppo on Saturday.

SANA, Syria's state new agency, said Sunday that 107 people were injured in Aleppo after militants in Idlib hit areas with projectiles that probably contained chlorine.

"We can not know the kinds of gases but we suspected chlorine, and treated patients on this basis because of the symptoms", said Zaher Batal, the head of the Aleppo Doctors Syndicate.

Rebel commanders and opposition figures discredited the government reports, denying they lobbed gas into Aleppo and accusing Damascus of seeking to undermine an existing cease-fire and efforts to kickstart political talks.

Aleppo has come under rebel attack in recent weeks, with missiles falling inside the city.

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"The explosive (shells) contain toxic gases that led to choking among civilians", Aleppo police chief Issam al-Shilli told state media.

On Twitter he wrote that "the regime and its allies are using this as an excuse to launch a military operation in north Syria".

In the absence of independent monitors, it is hard to corroborate gas attacks.

Announcing the demilitariazation agreement in September, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the creation of a 15- to 20-kilometer (approximately nine to 12 miles) demilitarized zone would prevent a "humanitarian crisis" in the northwestern province.

Russian Federation accused "terrorist groups" of being behind the alleged chlorine attack, and carried out the first air raids in months on the outskirts of a major rebel bastion west of the city.

Syria's regime has insisted that the buffer zone deal is temporary and that Idlib will eventually revert to its control.

Abu Omar, a Failaq al-Sham spokesman, accused Damascus of trying to create "a malicious charade" as a pretext to attack rebel towns, Reuters reported.

Assad's government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons in the war.

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