Gas Attacks Reported in Two Cities in Northern Syria

Russia Denies Helicopter Gas Attack, State Media Reports Separate Strike in Aleppo

by Jason Ditz, August 02, 2016

Two separate poison gas attacks have been reported in northern Syria today, in the Idlib and Aleppo Provinces. The attacks appear unrelated, and the reports suggest they were launched by opposite sides, with one an attack launched by rebels against government-held parts of Aleppo, and another apparently by a Russian military helicopter.

Syria state media reported the attack in Aleppo, labeling it an attack by “terrorist groups” with artillery shells containing unspecified poison gas. At least five civilians were killed, and a number of others wounded. This was in addition to other civilians killed and wounded in shelling around Aleppo with conventional munitions.

The other attack, reported by the Syrian Civil Defense NGO, was in Saraqeb, in the Nusra Front-dominated Idlib Province, where locals reported a Russian attack helicopter dropped canisters containing gas, likely chlorine, on the area where another helicopter was downed earlier in the day. Dozens were reported wounded, but none killed.

Russia has issued a statement denying any use of poison gas on their part, accusing the local media of fabricating the entire story. In both cases details and evidence remain scant, and many claims of illegal use of chemical weapons are never verified.

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