Syria oppn alleges new gas attack

December 06, 2013 - 5:43:17 am
AMMAN: Opposition activists again accused President Bashar Al Assad’s forces of using poison gas in Syria’s civil war yesterday, and said victims had been discovered with swollen limbs and foaming at the mouth.

The activists said two shells loaded with gas hit a rebel-held area in the town of Nabak, 68km northeast of Damascus, on a major highway in the Qalamoun region. They reported seven casualties.

Separately, the Syrian Revolution Coordinators Union also accused Assad’s forces of using poison gas.

“We have documented nine casualties from poison gas used by the regime in neighbourhoods of Nabak,” it said on its Facebook page.

It was not clear what kind of gas, if any, might have been used in Nabak and there was no immediate comment from Syrian authorities.

“Seven men are reported ill so far. They have swollen limbs and foam coming out of their mouths,” said an activist calling himself Amer Al Qalamouni.

“No doctors have got to them yet because Nabak is under ferocious bombardment and there are very few medical staff left.”

Amir Kazk, another activist in Nabak, said the two shells were part of a heavy barrage that hit the Tariq Al Mashfa district near the centre of the town. The source of the fire, he added, appeared to be an army barracks on a hill in the nearby Deir Attiya area.

Video footage posted on YouTube by activists showed a man who said he had seen white smoke from the shelling, inhaled it and then passed out.

In northern Syria, jihadists have kidnapped more than 50 Kurds in the past three days, in the second such case of mass hostage-taking since July, a monitoring group said Thursday.

The kidnappings come months into major battles for control of several parts of northern Syria that have pitted Kurdish fighters against jihadists, chiefly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“In the past three days, ISIL has kidnapped at least 51 Kurds in the towns of Minbej and Jarablus,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Among the hostages were nine children and a woman, said the Britain-based group, adding that there was no information on where they had been taken.

Minbej and Jarablus are located in Aleppo province, which is home to a Kurdish minority.

The Observatory also said yesterday that fighters linked to Al Qaeda had executed an Iraqi freelance cameraman as he was leaving Syria after a 10-day assignment in rebel-held territory.

Yasser Faysal Al Joumaili was shot dead after being stopped at a checkpoint in mainly rebel-held Idlib province in the northwest as he headed for the Turkish border on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old father-of-three had been filming in Aleppo province 

REUTERS

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