Tags: syria | chemical | attack | bbc

BBC: Evidence Exists of Syrian Regime Chemical Attack

Image: BBC: Evidence Exists of Syrian Regime Chemical Attack A view of the destruction after a Syrian regime attack in the northern town of Saraqeb.

Thursday, 16 May 2013 09:01 AM

By Lisa Barron

The BBC has been shown evidence of an apparent chemical attack by government forces in Syria last month. Eyewitnesses in the northern town of Saraqeb told a correspondent for the British television network that helicopters had dropped at least two devices containing poisonous gas.
Saraqeb, a town southwest of the Syrian commercial capital of Aleppo, reportedly came under artillery bombardment from government positions on April 29.

Doctors at the local hospital told BBC correspondent Ian Pannell they had admitted eight people with breathing problems, some of whom were vomiting and had constricted pupils. One woman, Maryam Khatib, later died.

Several videos appearing to support the testimony were given to the BBC, but the network said it is not possible to independently verify them.

Khatib’s son Mohammed, who had rushed to the scene to help his mother and was also injured, told the BBC: “It was a horrible, suffocating smell. You couldn’t breathe at all. You couldn’t even see. I couldn’t see anything for three or four days.”

The BBC was also told that samples from the scene and from alleged victims have been sent for testing in the United States, Britain, France, and Turkey.

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commanding officer at Britain’s Joint Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Regiment who was given access to the material collected by the BBC, said the evidence from Saraqeb was “strong, albeit incomplete.”

The Syrian government has vehemently denied accusations of using chemical weapons against its own people in the two-year-old civil war.

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