Air raids hit insurgent areas west of Syria's Aleppo, says monitor

28 November, 2018, 11:23 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • At least 50 people injured in suspected Syrian rebel poison gas attack

A toxic gas attack left more than 100 people hospitalized in the government-controlled city of Aleppo, the Syrian state news agency reported Sunday.

The strikes, carried out a day after an alleged toxic attack on the regime-held city of Aleppo, were "likely" being carried out by the Syrian regime's ally Russian Federation, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

On September 17, Turkey and Russian Federation inked the Sochi agreement; however, 37 civilians have been killed by the regime and ally attacks in Idlib de-escalation zone since then whereas scores of civilians were left injured.

There has been no major offensive in northern Syria since September, when Russian Federation and Turkey agreed to create a buffer zone to separate government forces from rebel fighters in Idlib province.

In Aleppo city, which the Government controls, the shells had spread a strong stench and caused breathing problems, the United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Earlier on Sunday, Moscow accused the militants of poisoning 46 people, including eight children in the attack, while regime news agency SANA said that 107 people had been injured.

Zaher Batal, the head of the Aleppo Doctors Syndicate, told Reuters news agency that it was the first gas attack against civilians in the city since the start of the conflict in 2011.

Batal said symptoms included difficulty breathing, eye inflammation, shivering and fainting.

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The Russia-Turkey buffer zone deal on September 17 meant to prevent a major regime attack on Idlib, which is home to some three million people.

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

State media said the army hit back at militants near the city but did not elaborate.

Earlier Saturday, government shelling of a rebel-held area in neighbouring Idlib province killed at least seven civilians.

Turkey's defense ministry said in a statement Sunday that Defense Minister Hulusi Akar spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu about the recent developments in northern Syria.

"Terrorist groups based in the province of Aleppo, has released the shells with toxic substances in the neighborhoods of al-Halden, Jamat AZ-Zahra street and al-Nile administrative center", - stated in the message. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, seven children and two women were killed in bombing by the government on Saturday.

The dominant force among an array of factions holding sway in Idlib is Tahrir Al-Sham, an alliance led by fighters formerly linked to Al-Qaeda.

Rebel commanders and opposition figures denied carrying out a chemical attack and accused the government of trying to undermine a cease-fire. On other occasions the Syrian regime has been accused of using chemical weapons against rebel strongholds, which it has always denied.

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