Yesterday’s strikes came despite reports of a ceasefire and the potential resumption of talks between Syria’s regime and Jaish al-Islam, the last rebel faction in Ghouta.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Eastern Ghouta since the Syrian army began new air strikes on February 18.
The poison gas attack, blamed on the Syrian regime-who Russian Federation backs in the ongoing civil war in the country-sparked an aggressive response from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France who are all opposed to President Bashar al-Assad and Moscow’s support for him.
Government forces had already taken control of more than 90 percent of eastern Ghouta, an opposition stronghold near Damascus.
Activists posted photos of men, women and children foaming from the mouth.
Peter Salama, the organization’s deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, said the worldwide community should “be outraged at these horrific reports and images from Douma”. “We decidedly refute this information”, Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko, head of the Russian peace and reconciliation centre in Syria, was cited as saying by Interfax news service.
The Ghouta offensive has been one of the deadliest in Syria’s seven-year-long war, killing more than 1,600 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Jaish al-Islam could not be reached for comment.
Rescue workers and medical staff have said that the death toll from Syria’s chlorine chemical attack that struck the Damascus suburb of Douma at midnight on Saturday has risen to 85.
The Observatory also reported that dozens of people had suffered breathing problems following the attacks, but could not identify the cause.
Medical relief organisation SAMS said a chlorine bomb hit Douma hospital, killing six people, and a second attack with “mixed agents”, including nerve agents, had hit a nearby building. Civil defence volunteers reported more than 42 cases of people dead at their homes showing the same symptoms, it said.
“Therefore, the U.S. has ordered Jaysh al-Islam, Faylaq al-Rahman and other terrorist groups to allow the evacuation of civilians from Eastern Ghouta to army-held regions in a bid to provide the ground for these foreign agents to also leave Ghouta in disguise and enable the Turkish intelligence service to send them to specified regions in At-Tanf and northern Syria which are under the control of USA troops”, the source said.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauret recalled a 2017 sarin gas attack in northwestern Syria that the West and the United Nations blamed on Assad’s government. “Russia, with its unwavering support for the regime, ultimately bears responsibility for these brutal attacks”.
Western countries may have repeatedly warned that evidence of Damascus using chemical weapons is a “red line” that will trigger fierce consequences, but Itani says their actions so far have been limited.