Human Rights Watch has accused Assad’s forces to use chemical weapons in Aleppo

Aleppo. December 2016

Photo: Karam Al-Masri / AFP

In Aleppo in the period from 17 November to 13 December last year, recorded at least eight cases of use by government forces of chemical weapons, says Human Rights Watch. According to human rights, the troops loyal to Assad have used chlorine

International Human rights organization Human Rights Watch, said the government forces of chemical weapons in the final month of the battle for Aleppo. The conclusion is made on the basis of telephone and in-person interviews with witnesses and analysis of videos, photos and social media posts.

Only from 17 November to 13 December 2016, according to human rights activists recorded at least eight episodes of the use of chemical weapons. We are talking about when a helicopter dropped a chemical on residential areas, which killed at least nine civilians, including four children, and about 200 people were injured.

Blows to the report of Human Rights Watch, were deposited on the areas where government forces were planning an offensive. The lesions begin in the East and moved westward together with line fighting, stress the human rights defenders. As stated by the Deputy Director of the organization OLE Solvang, a picture named episodes indicates that it was not “the personal initiative of individual, out-of-control persons” and “military strategy of the occupation of the city”.

Human rights activists say that cases of use of toxic substances in Aleppo, from November 17 to December 13, there could be more — at least 12, as evidenced in social networks, the journalists, rescuers, medics, however, the report is limited only to “those [cases] which are confirmed by information in social networks in real time, and at least one of our interviews with eyewitnesses”.

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What substance was used in the attacks without laboratory tests to say without a shadow of a doubt is difficult, said the organization also. At the same time, the smell, the outward signs and symptoms of the victims and medical staff indicate the use of chlorine. In particular, the victims “were observed choking, coughing, nausea, sometimes loss of consciousness, someone was frothing at the mouth”. In addition, in four cases, relief was seen greenish-yellow smoke, characteristic of chlorine in the gaseous state.

The facts, which would indicate direct involvement in the cases of Russia’s use of toxic substances, human rights defenders do not have. But the helicopters, which had previously been discharged chlorine, said the organization was based in particular on the base Hamim, which is controlled by Russia. The command of the Russian forces in Syria “was obliged to take measures to prevent the use of toxic substances during the joint offensive,” notes Human Rights Watch.

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