Posts Tagged ‘Sarmin’

Seven Syrian Rescue Volunteers — “White Helmets” — Killed in Shooting

August 12, 2017

BEIRUT — Seven volunteers with the Syrian civil defense rescue service were killed in a shooting by unidentified attackers in rebel-held Idlib province on Saturday, the civil defense said on its Twitter feed.

The attackers stole two vehicles and other equipment in the incident targeting a civil defense office in the town of Sarmin at dawn. Idlib province in northwestern Syria is controlled by Syrian rebels groups.

The civil defense, otherwise known as the “White Helmets”, operates in rebel-held areas of Syria.

(Writing by Tom Perry, editing by David Evans)


U.S. wants a UN team to lay blame for Syria gas attacks

May 5, 2015


‘Serious concern’ That Syria Used Gas Attack On Enemies of the Assad Regime

March 25, 2015


The world’s chemical watchdog on Wednesday said it is monitoring “with serious concern” reports alleging that Damascus unleashed a chlorine gas attack in northwestern Syria earlier this month.

“We have been monitoring the recent reports suggesting that toxic chemicals may have been used as weapons in the Idlib province in Syria,” Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons chief Ahmet Uzumcu said.

“The matter is of serious concern,” Uzumcu said in a statement, issued at the OPCW’s Hague-based headquarters.

A young man breathes with an oxygen mask on March 17, 2015 at a clinic in the village of Sarmin, southeast of Idlib, Syria, following reports of suffocation ...

A young man breathes with an oxygen mask on March 17, 2015 at a clinic in the village of Sarmin, southeast of Idlib, Syria, following reports of suffocation cases related to an alleged regime gas attack in the area. Photo credit Mohamad Zeen (AFP/File)

A monitoring group and opposition activists said six people, including three young children, were killed in the alleged regime gas attack in the village of Sarmin, in Idlib province 10 days ago.

The attack prompted outrage from rights group Amnesty International, which said it was further evidence of regime “war crimes”.

Activists have accused the Syrian regime of using chlorine — a toxic agent that can be considered a chemical weapon — on civilian areas in the past.

A report by the OPCW in January concluded “with a high degree of confidence” that chlorine gas had been used in attacks on three villages in Syria last year.

At least 13 people died in the attacks that were carried out from April to August, according to the report.

A chlorine-tinged cloud of smoke rises into the air from a bomb detonated by Iraqi army and Shi'ite fighters from Hashid Shaabi forces, in the Iraqi town of al-Alam

A chlorine-tinged cloud of smoke rises into the air from a bomb detonated by Iraqi army and Shi’ite fighters from Hashid Shaabi forces, in the Iraqi town of al-Alam Photo: AFP/Getty

Uzumcu said Wednesday the OPCW would continue a current fact-finding mission into the use of “toxic chemicals for hostile purposes” in Syria.

After an August 2013 sarin attack outside Damascus that much of the international community blamed on President Bashar al-Assad’s government, the regime agreed to turn over its chemical arsenal.

But Syria did not have to declare its stockpile of chlorine — a toxic agent that can be considered a chemical weapon — as part of a disarmament deal agreed in 2013 because it is widely used for commercial and domestic purposes.

The Assad regime and the rebels have accused each other of using chemical agents, including chlorine, in the nearly four-year war that has killed more than 210,000 people.


Reports Say Syrian Military Used Deadly Chlorine Gas in Attack on Monday, Islamic State Used Chemical Weapons on Kurds

March 17, 2015

BEIRUT Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:07am EDT

Members of an Iraqi Shia militia help a wounded colleague outside the Qadisiyya neighbourhood of Tikrit, 130 kilometres north of Baghdad. Iraqi military officials say the former home of Saddam Hussein will be retaken from ISIS in the next two or three days. (Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press)

(Reuters) – A group monitoring the Syrian civil war said on Tuesday government forces carried out a poison gas attack that killed six people in the northwest, and medics posted videos of children suffering what they said was suffocation.

A Syrian military source described the report of an attack in the village of Sarmin in Idlib province as propaganda. “We confirm that we would not use this type of weapon, and we don’t need to use it,” the source said.

President Bashar al-Assad’s government has previously denied accusations that it has used chemical weapons against rebel-held areas in the four-year-old war. Officials were not available for comment.

An army statement said dozens of militants were killed in other areas of Idlib province overnight in clashes and attacks.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the conflict through a network of sources, said the six dead included a man, his wife and their three children. It cited medical sources as saying they died as a result of gas from barrel bombs dropped late on Monday and that the chemical used was likely chlorine.

Dozens more were wounded in the attack, the Observatory said. Reuters could not independently verify the report.

The Idlib branch of the Syrian Civil Defense rescue organization, which operates in insurgent-held areas, posted seven videos on YouTube, some at nighttime and some in a medical center.

One video showed three children and a woman, all apparently unconscious, in a medical center. A voice off camera said the name of the village, Sarmin, and Monday’s date.

“One of the infants, only a few months old,” a male voice says, shaking, as he films a baby on a gurney with liquid around its mouth. Two more infants with limp bodies are brought in, one by a man wearing a gas mask and another carrying a young girl.

“She’s still alive doctor,” a man checking the girl says. “Doctor, doctor, she is still breathing.”

The Syrian Civil Defense includes more than 2,000 humanitarian volunteers, known as the “White Helmets” for the hard hats they wear, who work as first responders in a country where the medical infrastructure has broken down.

Another video posted by the group and shot at night showed a very young girl, naked except for underwear and pink shoes, being doused in liquid by people wearing white helmets, her horrified expression illuminated by their headlamps shining on her face.

The Syrian Civil Defense said on Twitter there had been more than 100 casualties, including its own volunteers.

The reports came a day after Kurds in neighboring Iraq said that Islamic State insurgents used chlorine gas against military police and peshmerga forces in December and January. An officer said the gas was used three times, and that a number of military police were treated in hospital.


A U.N. inquiry found in late 2013 that sarin gas had likely been used in several rebel-held districts of the Syrian capital Damascus in August 2013, where hundreds of people were killed.

The inquiry was only looking at whether chemical weapons were used, not who used them. The government and the opposition have each accused the other of using chemical weapons during the civil war which has killed 200,000. Both sides deny it.

Assad agreed with the United States and Russia to dispose of his chemical weapons after hundreds of people were killed by sarin gas on the outskirts of the capital.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons also said it had “compelling evidence” that chlorine gas was used in rebel-held villages in northern Syria last year. It did not say who carried out the attack.

Officials in Washington regularly accuse Assad of gassing his own people and say he has lost all legitimacy. But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that Assad should be included in negotiations to reach a political transition, although a spokeswoman later explained that Kerry was not specifically referring to Assad.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that France and Britain were “still engaging in policies that embroil the European Union in the ongoing aggression against Syria.”

The statement, released after a cabinet meeting, appears to be an attempt to drive a wedge between Assad’s greatest enemies in Europe, Britain and France, and other European Union states. The Syrian government has said it is willing to reengage with countries who stop supporting insurgents.

Opposition activists have reported many chlorine attacks over the past year, which they said occurred when explosive canisters were dropped from army helicopters.

Khaled Khoja, president of the opposition National Coalition, blamed Assad on Tuesday for the most recent reported attack: “The psychopathic dictator continues to kill by chemicals and challenges the international laws.”

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, an expert on biological and chemical weapons, said there had been several chlorine bomb attacks in recent days in the area.

“On the face of it, the video of the attack looks genuine. While chlorine itself it not that deadly, it is being very effectively used as a weapon of terror, first in Syria and now in Iraq. It killed three children, who are too little to run away after an attack.”

(Additional reporting by Tom Perry in Beirut and Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam; Editing by Dominic Evans)


BEIRUT — Mar 17, 2015, 7:57 AM ET