Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Syria Accuses Rebels of Firing Chemical Weapon

Syrian state media accused rebels of firing a chemical weapon for the first time on Tuesday in the north of the country on Tuesday, killing 15 people. Rebels quickly denied the report and accused regime forces of firing the weapon.

Neither of the accusations could immediately be verified.

The Syrian state news agency SANA said “terrorists” fired a rocket “containing chemical materials” into the area around the village ofKhan al-Assal in the northern province of Aleppo. The regime regularly uses the term terrorists to refer to rebels fighting to overthrow authoritarian President Bashar Assad.

SANA said about 15 people, most of them civilians, were killed and a number of others were wounded.

An activist in the area said rebels had recently seized much of the village of Khan al-Assal including a facility that housed a military academy.

The Aleppo Media Center, affiliated with the rebels, said there were cases of “suffocation and poison” among civilians in Khan al-Assal after a surface-to-surface missile was fired at the area. It said in a statement the cases were “most likely” caused by regime forces’ use of “poisonous gases.”

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, March 20th, 2013.]

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