UN Security council to meet Wednesday on suspected Syria toxic gas attack

UN Security council to meet Wednesday on suspected Syria toxic gas attack [Photo: VOA]
UN Security council to meet Wednesday on suspected Syria toxic gas attack [Photo: VOA]

The UN Security Council will meet at 1000 EDT (1400 GMT) on Wednesday to be briefed on the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.

NAN reports that a suspected Syrian government chemical attack killed at least 58 people, including 11 children, in the north-western province of Idlib, a monitor, medics and rescue workers in the rebel-held area said.

“We obviously are very concerned about what happened with the Syrian chemical weapon attack so we’ll be having an emergency meeting tomorrow morning in the open chamber,” U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told reporters.

The U.S. is president of the 15-member council for April.

The White House also on Tuesday blamed the chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Idlib province directly on the government of President Bashar al-Assad and said the incident was “reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world.”

“These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the last administration’s weakness and irresolution,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a briefing.

“President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing.”

Mr. Spicer declined to say what the Trump administration would do about the attack but he added that the president had spoken on Tuesday with his national security team about the issue.

A Syrian military source strongly denied the army had used any such weapons.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack, believed to have been carried out by Syrian army jets, caused many people to choke, and some had foam coming out of their mouths.

All the children were under the age of eight.

“This morning, at 6:30 a.m., warplanes targeted Khan Sheikhoun with gases, believed to be sarin and chlorine,” said Mounzer Khalil, head of Idlib’s health authority.

The attack had killed more than 50 people and wounded 300, he said.

“Most of the hospitals in Idlib province are now overflowing with wounded people,” Khalil told a news conference in Idlib.

The air strikes that hit the town of Khan Sheikhoun, in the south of rebel-held Idlib, killed at least 58 people, said the Observatory, a British-based war monitoring group.

Warplanes later struck near a medical point where victims of the attack were receiving treatment, the Observatory and civil defence workers said.

The civil defence, also known as the White Helmets – a rescue service that operates in opposition areas of Syria – said jets struck one of its centres in the area and the nearby medical point.

It would mark the deadliest chemical attack in Syria since sarin gas killed hundreds of civilians in Ghouta near the capital in August 2013.

Western states said the Syrian government was responsible for the 2013 attack.

Damascus blamed rebels.

The Syrian military source on Tuesday denied allegations that government forces had used chemical weapons.

The army “has not and does not use them, not in the past and not in the future, because it does not have them in the first place”, the source said.

A series of investigations by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found that various parties in the Syrian war have used chlorine, sulphur mustard gas and sarin.

(Reuters/NAN)


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