World

So Far 58 Killed, 11 Children, In Syria Chemical Attack

| by Shani Shahmoon

As Syrians faced the biggest chemical weapon attack in years, world leaders were packing their bags to head to Brussels for a conference to discuss the fiscal and humanitarian needs in Syria.

On April 4, chemical weapons were dropped onto the northern Idlib province of Syria, leaving 58 people dead -- so far -- with nearly one hundred predicted to die in the upcoming days, as they are in critical condition following the attack. Children have been greatly affected, with more than 10 dead, USA Today reports.

As this situation occurred in Syria, world leaders made their way to Brussels for a conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region, which is planned to last from April 4-5 and will provide opportunities for donors to come together and formulate a better response to the needs of Syrians, the United Nations Development Programme writes on its website.

Talk about irony.

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This could be the deadliest chemical weapons attack in Syria since hundreds were killed by a sarin gas attack in Ghouta near Damascus in August 2013, The Independent notes.

Health officials suspect sarin was also used in the April 4 attack.

Mounzer Khalil, head of Idlib's health authority, explained, "This morning, at 6.30 a.m., warplanes targeted Khan Sheikhoun with gases, believed to be sarin and chlorine."

Air strikes after the initial gas attack targeted Idlib hospitals filled with struggling victims, causing rubble to fall onto medical staff assisting patients.

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Turkey went so far as to open its borders at Reyhanli so victims could be brought in for treatment.

Although many citizens and opposition-officials have stated the airplane looked exactly like Russian, military-grade airplanes given to the Bashar al-Assad regime, both the Russian Defense Ministry and Assad's army released statements denying their involvement.

“We deny completely the use of any chemical or toxic material in Khan Sheikhoun town today and the army has not used nor will use in any place or time, neither in past or in future,” Assad's army said in a statement.

British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, claimed the attack bore a strong resemblance to Assad's past chemical attacks.

"Bombing your own civilians with chemical weapons is unquestionably a war crime and they must be held to account," Johnson said.

Similarly, leaders of France, Turkey, Israel as well as the Trump administration in the U.S. have condemned the attacks, USA Today reports.

In response to the incident, the United Nations Security Council is meeting on April 5 to discuss repercussions.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded that while the Syrian government was found guilty to three different incidences of the use of chemical weapons, China and Russia had vetoed sanctions, The Independent reports.

Matthew Rycroft, the British ambassador to the UN, urged Assad's allies not to use their vetoes to “defend the indefensible” to assure those who conducted this latest catastrophe be held responsible and face the consequences.

Sources: The Independent, (2), USA Today, United Nations Development Programme / Photo Credit: Alexei Druzhinin / RIA Novosti via RT

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