Toxic Gas Attacks Hit Two Syrian Cities, Governments And Rebels Point Fingers

Posted: Aug 03, 2016 2:00 PM

Toxic gas was dropped on two separate towns in Syria Tuesday. A doctor told BBC that the barrels released from one helicopter may have contained chlorine gas.

Nearly 30 people in Saraqeb, Syria were affected by the first attack, which struck close to the Monday crash site of a Russian helicopter. Another attack took place in Aleppo, killing five and injuring eight.

Chlorine gas can hurt the lungs and eyes, causing victims to cough up blood. A CNN report published firsthand accounts of the victims' injuries:

CNN has spoken with a doctor in Saraqeb who said he treated some of those affected by the alleged attack. He said their symptoms were consistent with those "of someone who has suffered from chlorine poisoning."

A photographer who took photos of the injured for the White Helmets said victims were suffering symptoms such as watering eyes, spasms, sweating, coughing and difficulty breathing

Following the tragic events, Syrian rebels blamed the Russian government for the first attack, while U.S. government officials said the attack may have been chlorine gas dropped by the Syrian government itself. The Syrian government has blamed "terrorist groups" for the second attack.

BBC reported in 2013 that the Syrian government may have launched similar chemical attacks on Saraqeb.

Russia has denied a chemical attack took place and a spokesperson claimed the use of chlorine gas was made up by the media. Five Russians were killed when unidentified attackers downed their transport helicopter. Russia claims the helicopter was providing aid to Aleppo.

According to CNN, a senior U.S. official said the first attack could not have been a rebel operation because it came from the sky and the rebels have no aircraft. If the Syrian government used chemical weapons, especially on its own citizens, it would be in violation of international law.