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:
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: