Already overcrowded hospitals are struggling to cope with treating victims of the recent chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town in the north-western Syrian province of Idlib.
At least 58 people, including 19 children, have died after a chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Sheikhun, with victims, including many children, suffering asphyxiation, vomiting, foaming of the mouth, and a variety of other symptoms.
Syria’s opposition groups blamed President Bashar al-Assad’s forces for the use of chemical weapons, saying the attack cast doubt on the future of peace talks.
The incident is one of the largest chemical weapons incidents in the six-year Syrian civil war, and brought swift condemnation form the international community, with the United States, France and the UK jointly presenting a draft resolution to the UN Security Council to demand a full-scale investigation.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:
“I am horrified by the reports of an attack near Idlib in Syria. The reports we are receiving strongly suggest the use of chemical weapons. And although we cannot yet be certain about what has happened, this bears all the hallmarks of an attack by the regime which has repeatedly used chemical weapons.
“The UK condemns the use of chemical weapons wherever and by whomever they are used and we will continue to lead international efforts to hold perpetrators to account. We continue to support the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and will work closely with them as they seek to investigate this latest incident.
“If this is shown to be the work of the regime, it is further evidence of the atrocities perpetrated against the Syrian people over six years of appalling conflict.”
Meanwhile, Assad ally Russia claims the release of poisonous gases in the town were a result of Syrian war planes striking a warehouse that was producing mines filled with the chemical for use in Iraq. No evidence was offered to substantiate this claim.