Assad’s forces accused of new poison gas attack
The U.N. chemical weapons’ watchdog asks Assad to resume the transfer of chemical weapons 'now'
Syrian opposition activists again accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of using chemical weapons near the capital Damascus on Thursday, publishing the video of an apparently unconscious man lying on a bed and being treated by medics.
The alleged attack on the neighborhood of Jobar comes a week after the Syrian government sent a letter to the United Nations claiming it had evidence that rebel groups were planning a toxic gas attack in the same area, Reuters reported.
Activists from the opposition “Jobar Revo” group posted the video on YouTube of a man being treated with oxygen and being injected by medics. A voice off-screen said Thursday’s date and that there was “a poison attack in Jobar.”
The London-based the Syrian Revolutionary Coordinators Union, was quoted by Reuters as saying that all those affected by the gas were “in a good condition.” There has been on-off fighting between rebels and government forces in Jobar this year.
In a letter dated March 25 and circulated by the United Nations this week, Syria’s U.N. envoy, Bashar Ja’afari, said his government had intercepted communications between “terrorists” that showed a man named Abu Nadir was secretly distributing gas masks in the rebel-held Jobar area.
This week an international coordinator told the U.N. Security Council that Syria can still meet a June deadline for getting rid of its chemical weapons, but to do so must resume stalled weapons transfers now, according to AFP.
Syria has suspended the transfers for what it says are security reasons, but on Sunday said it planned to resume them in the “coming days.”
Sigrid Kaag, coordinator for the international operation to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, warned the council any further delay would make it “increasingly challenging” to stick to the June 30 deadline, according to diplomats.
“Assuming that operations restart immediately, operations could be achieved on time,” diplomats quoted her as saying.
“I have repeated to Syrian authorities the need for a swift resumption of the removal operation. Operations have to restart immediately,” she said.
Damascus agreed to give up its chemical weapons in September under a deal to ward off the threat of U.S. air strikes.
The agreement was reached after deadly chemical attacks outside Damascus last August that the West blamed on the regime of President Assad
[With AFP and Reuters]
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