BREAKING: 1200 killed in Damascas chemical attack Syrian opposition charges (Video footage)

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A new report coming out of Syria suggests an escalation in the method of brutality the Syrian government will use against it’s citizens: according to CBS News, and other reports (including some graphic ones from eyewitnesses), the Syrian opposition says the governnment killed 12000 in a chemical attack in Damascas:

The Syrian opposition said Wednesday that state security forces had launched intense artillery and rocket barrages on the eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus, claiming that hundreds of people died in what was being called a “poisonous gas” attack.

George Sabra, deputy head of the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition, said at a news conference that 1,300 people were killed as shells rained down on the capital’s eastern suburbs of Douma, Jobar, Zamalka, Arbeen and Ein Tarma.

The opposition Local Coordination Committees said hundreds of people were killed or injured in the shelling, and a nurse at a health center in Douma put the death toll at 213.

The varying death tolls, which are common following attacks in Syria due to the government’s refusal to allow independent news reporting, could not be immediately reconciled.

The Syrian government is denying the reports — suggesting, in effect, that the videos being posted at a quickening pace on You Tube are staged:

Syria denied reports on Wednesday that chemical weapons had been used in an attack on the eastern suburbs of Damascus which activists said killed more than 200 people.

State television quoted a source as saying there was “no truth whatsever” to the reports, which it said were aimed at distracting a visiting team of United Nations chemical weapons experts from their mission.

Here’s a CBS News video:
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The Washington Post:

Dozens of videos were posted online showing the alleged victims. In one, men sprawled on the floor of a makeshift hospital were hosed down with water. Another showed a listless child being treated with a hand-held respirator, while others showed victims gasping for breath. It was not immediately possible to confirm whether the people depicted in the videos had in fact been exposed to chemical weapons. Syria’s state news agency called the reports “completely baseless.”

The allegations surfaced as a United Nations team of chemical weapons experts is in Syria to investigate past reports of the use of toxic gases in the civil conflict that has raged for 21 / 2 years, including an alleged attack in March in the village of Khan al-Assal, near the northern city of Aleppo, that left 19 people dead.

The United Nations team, which was admitted to the country this week after months of negotiations with the Syrian government, is attempting to determine whether chemical weapons were used, rather than who may have used them.

The attack that allegedly happened Wednesday was in the Ghouta, an area just outside the capital that is known for its support of the Syrian rebels. Activists said rockets primed with chemical weapons struck at least seven locations.
The Post includes eyewitnesses:

“The fiance of my sister has died. My friend, her husband and her husband’s uncle — all dead while asleep. My neighbor, who is an old woman is dead,” said Sama Masoud, an activist who lives in the Eastern Ghouta. She said she worked to help victims in a field hospital and had felt dizziness herself.

“I saw children dying and their mothers screaming with all their might,” Masoud said. “Mothers were taking off the clothes of their children and using them, with water, to cover their mouths.”

Some of the You Tubes — which are as heartbreaking as they are alarming. But: these videos are still unverified:






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  • The_Ohioan

    If true, this is a major human rights violation and the UN will have to force its way into the fray. Unfortunately, this type of attack is easier to fake than one that actually shows physical wounds, though that can be faked as well. We simply don’t know because of the absence of reputable news orgnizations or international observers or aid organizations.

    If this is verified it is both a stupid thing to do while UN chemical weapons inspectors are in the country and a game changer for sure. Either the Syrian government is complicit or they have lost control of their military.

    If this is faked or exaggerated, it is the end of any credibility for the opposition.

  • ordinarysparrow

    Heartbreaking in it’s stark reality of the reported inhumanity…looking at those little bodies, some with blue legs and bloated bellies in the various stages of rigor mortis do not look staged….

    Children being killed for the six inches of gray matter in warped brains of those programmed into hatred and strife…

    This post with its pictures brings tears and anger…No cause justifies this kind of ‘war’ tactic..

  • petew

    Yes,

    Certainly if this is the work of the Assad government, there should be an immediate response from the US and NATO.

    Personally, to me Assad doesn’t seem like the kind of leader who would refrain from using chemical weapons—I wouldn’t put anything past him. But, given the many complications of the war in Syria, it’s a good thing that Obama wants to be 100% certain before committing troops and other kinds of direct US support.

    Whoever is responsible, this attack represents the worst disregard for human life we have seen in the middle east for a long time.

    So far, the tendency for Assad not to hesitate when brutally attacking his own people, doesn’t speak well for the idea that he may actually be innocent. By the time dictators like him are done, they might possilby have no population left to lead—but they don’t even seem to care about that!

  • sheknows

    Since UN inspectors were already there to determine if chemical weapons have been used in previous attacks, it does seem odd that a chemical attack would occur just at that time. The footage seems real enough, and though the Syrian government denies it used chemical weapons, it is easy enough to verify now. Whoever killed those people and most especially those children will not just be swept under the rug by the international community.
    They should be captured and tried for war crimes.

  • ROBERT COUTINHO

    @SK: I disagree with the claim of ‘war crimes’. This would be best classified as ‘Crimes against humanity’, by whomever is responsible.

    I was a trained U.S. Army officer in the Chemical Corps. I know the symptoms and treatments for such attacks. It seems somewhat unlikely that this is a staged fakery. That being said, it is entirely possible that someone else made the attack (it does not take that much sarin to kill lots of people).

    For those interested, one drop of sarin should be enough to kill any adult human. The gas is toxic to the skin (as well as when breathed in), so the people putting clothes over their mouths would have received little if any benefit. Such is the insidious nature of nerve gas.

    Nerve gas causes all the nerve synapses to fire. This causes convulsions, respiratory distress, loss of bowel and bladder control, and (in many cases) death–either due to respiratory failure or heart failure. This usually occurs within fifteen minutes. It is not a fun way to die.

    It should be fairly easy to autopsy the bodies to determine if poisonous nerve agent was the culprit. The only question remaining is whether or not the Syrian government (or the opposition in tentative control of the area) allows independent autopsies to be performed.

  • slamfu

    Whether the attack is real or not, the window to help Syria has closed, if indeed it was ever open. The rebels are now hopelessly mixed in with extremists, we have no one to hand over the reigns to that isn’t worse than Assad. Even a despot is better than anarchy and religious extremism. A distasteful outcome, but the best of a bad lot. The fight for democracy there was over as soon as the terrorist organizations go too involved. My heart is heavy thinking about the suffering of the poor Syrian people and what comes next.

  • DaGoat

    Agree with slam – in Syria both sides are the bad guys. Ideally the UN should take the lead here if chemical weapons are confirmed, though coming to a consensus will be difficult.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    chemical or no. Let those who argue such, argue over it.

    Meanwhile: The deaths of children will not be laid aside.