Just hours after Syrian forces bombed a line of starving residents waiting for bread, reports came out that the government used chemical weapons on the city of Homs, a rebel-held city in Western Syria.There has been no official confirmation yet, but if these reports are true, it may force the U.S. to intervene.
The U.S. said in August that such a move by the Assad regime would constitute a “Red Line” and shift its military position. Obama amplified the warning again in early December when news of chemical weapons preparation came out of Syria.
Now it’s clear even the American public considers it unacceptable: a Washington Post poll out last week states 63 per cent of Americans support military involvement against Syria if chemical weapons are used.
All of this makes the most recent reports out of Homs even more concerning.
While there is no official confirmation, The Times of Israel reports that at least six rebels are dead and 60 injured after opposition forces say “poison gas bombs” were dropped on the town of Homs.
Al Jazeera reports seven people have died in Homs after inhaling a poisonous gas “sprayed by government forces in a rebel held Homs neighbourhood.”
There is video here on YouTube via Al Jazerra from “a field clinic in the city” of exposed victims explaining and exhibiting their reported symptoms.
From Al Jazeera:
Activists also told Al Jazeera that scores of others were affected in al-Bayyada neighbourhood. Side effects reported include nausea, relaxed muscles, blurred vision, and breathing difficulties.
Residents said they did not know the nature of the gas sprayed.
“The situation is very difficult. We do not have enough facemasks. We don’t know what this gas is but medics are saying it’s something similar to Sarin gas,” Raji Rahmet Rabbou, an activist in Homs, told Al Jazeera.
This Google+ page claims to have the names of those killed so far in the attack.
Haaretz reported that they spoke to a Syrian activist who says government jet fighters dropped the “poisonous material” on Homs.
However, there has still been no official confirmation of the attack. We also don’t know exactly what gas was used in the attack, though some people believe that it may be chlorine. Iris Mentus at American Jihad Watch twitter stream posted that the gas may be chlorine at about 7 p.m. yesterday evening.
The Chechen centre, a self-described “pro-Russian newspaper also indicated that the gas may be chlorine. It tweeted “Parts of Syria are currently under chemical attack. Most reports seem to indicate chlorine attacks similar to those in Iraq in 2007.”
If it is chlorine, it should be easy to determine. It moves in a green cloud, has a strong odor and is water soluble. The last part is good news for anyone on the receiving end of chlorine because covering the nose and mouth with a wet cloth goes a long way to diminishing the danger. U.S. Army manuals direct those exposed to chlorine to “Mask and Move“
While not the most lethal chemical weapon, chlorine’s psychological effects following an attack are legendary. And for a rebel group already on the edge of exhaustion, hunger, cold, and despair there’s no doubt that will be the case in Syria if the attacks are in fact genuine.
The following video is one of two posted on Al Jazeera English and the one not requiring proof of age due to its graphic content. WARNING: Content is still difficult to watch.
This is breaking news we will continue adding to.
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