Dozens of people, including children, were reported killed in a suspected toxic chemical attack in Syria’s northern province of Idlib, according to opposition activists.
It is the third suspected use of chemical agents over the past week in the conflict that gripped the country since 2011.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said 58 people were killed, including 11 children.
According to the AP, Syrian activists had no information on the type of chemical used in the attack.
Footage posted to Twitter by a British-trained doctor showed a patient with pinhole pupils, a symptom of exposure to dangerous chemicals.
Idlib is almost completely controlled by the Syrian opposition. The attack reportedly came early in the morning in the form of an airstrike. Hospitals were reported full of patients suffering from suffocation.
There has been no official statement from the government in Damascus in the wake of the attack, which comes ahead of high-level talks between governments and agencies in Brussels on the future of Syria.
Chlorine has been suspected of being an agent in previous attacks, but the chemical used in this attack is as yet unknown. The AP reported:
Claims of chemical weapons attacks, particularly the use of the chlorine agent, are not uncommon in Syria’s conflict. The worst attack was what a UN report said was an attack by toxic sarin gas in August 2013 on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta that killed hundreds of civilians.
The Syrian Coalition, an opposition group based outside the country, said government planes carried out the airstrike on Khan Sheikhoun, south of the city of Idlib, the provincial capital.
It said the planes fired missiles carrying poisonous gases, killing dozens of people, many of them women and children. The coalition described the attack as a “horrifying massacre.”
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