1. Syrian activists allege that this unverified video shows yellow chlorine gas floating through the streets of Kfar Zeita, a village in Hama north of Damascus, and accuse President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of using chemical weapons in an attack Thursday.
A man’s voice off screen says, “Chlorine gas bombing. Yellow smoke.”
Syrian activists told Reuters that 70 people were wounded in two chlorine gas attacks on Kfar Zeita Thursday. They also reported a chlorine attack on the village of Al-Tamana’a, in northwest Idlib.
The activists allege that Thursday’s chlorine attack was part of a two-month-long government assault on the village, during which Assad’s troops have used helicopters to drop chlorine gas canisters on civilians.
The Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has opened an investigation into the allegations, which include more than a dozen reported incidents since April 11. The Syrian government has denied using chlorine or poisonous gases and instead repeatedly blamed these instances on opposition rebel groups.
In August 2013, Assad signed a Russia-brokered deal pledging to identify and dispose all chemical weapons after an alleged government sarin gas attack near Damascus killed hundreds and raised international ire. Syria is now several weeks behind the 2013 deal’s timeline, and an estimated 7% of Assad’s known chemical weapons still remain inside Syria. Chlorine gas was not part of the 2013 deal; nonetheless, use of chlorine as a weapon is illegal according to a global chemical weapons convention that Syria has signed.
On Wednesday, BuzzFeed reported that research submitted by the Syrian American Medical Society to the U.S. documenting alleged chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government had garnered no official response. News of Thursday’s attack, however, caused a greater stir on social media.
4. Hours after the reported attack, Russia and China vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution to refer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the International Criminal Court for possible charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
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