Home Investigative Reports New Attacks Using Toxic Substances in the Eastern Ghouta despite the UN Security Council Resolutions

New Attacks Using Toxic Substances in the Eastern Ghouta despite the UN Security Council Resolutions

by wael.m
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Syrians for Truth and Justice-STJ has documented that the residential neighborhoods in Erbin town located in Eastern Ghouta in the suburbs of  Damascus were targeted on Tuesday, February7, 2017, 8:55 am (Damascus time) with numerous artillery shells. This attack coincided with the targeting of the outskirts of the town with two airstrikes using Syrian air force aircraft (SU-22). The aircraft then repeated the attack, for what was the third time, at about 9:35 am.

 A video tape posted by “Qasioun News Agency” clearly shows the warplane prior to the raid and the moments immediately afterwards.

 At about 10:50 am, the Erbin Front, where the clashes occurred, was targeted with toxic chlorine gas, as cited by fighters of Failaq Al-Rahman Brigade – a Free Syrian Army-affiliate military opposition faction. No deaths were reported. The source of the bombardment was the Air Force Intelligence Branch known as “al-Moukhabarat al-Jawya Branch in Harasta”, witnesses added.

The warplane carried out another airstrike on residential areas in the town at 12:20 pm, killing the baby Osama Mohamed Safsaf and wounding a woman. A video tape posted by activists from the town shows the moments of getting the baby out from under the rubble. Another video tape by field activists shows the amount of the destruction resulting from the raid.

Syrian warplanes carried out two other airstrikes on the outskirts of Erbin at 3:00 pm, as shown in a video tape posted by Omawi News Agency.

At 3:11 pm, Syrian warplanes carried out two more airstrikes that targeted the outskirts of the town.

Then on Thursday, February 9th, 2017, at about 5 am, one of the clash points in Erbin Front was targeted with toxic gas, believed to be toxic Chlorine Gas according to the symptoms that appeared on the injured as well as the testimonies of the local medical groups. The attack, in a trench in the Erbin Front, resulted in the death of a combatant from the Failaq Al-Rahman Brigade, after having fainted as he inhaled the gas, who was identified as Yehia Khalil al-Masri. The attack also injured four more combatants, according to testimonials to Syrians for Truth and Justice.

The Erbin surgery hospital’s emergency department posted a video tape showing one of the local medical groups reporting on patients who suffered from skin eruptions, lack of consciousness as well as foam coming from their mouth and irritation in the eyes. The group said these symptoms appeared on the infected because that they were exposed to the toxic Chlorine Gas.  For this reason, the local medics gave the infected individuals medicine to counteract the work of Chlorine, such as atropine and steroids, in addition to tranquilizers and oxygen.

Video footage shows other infected individuals in the hospital who also have signs of exposure to the gas.

Abo Soltan, who studied up to secondary school at a commercial high school and joined Failaq Al-Rahman  Brigade (battalion 272- brigade 81), said to Syrians for Truth and Justice:

“We were targeted in the early morning when three guys and I were there ready to fight on the frontline of the Erbin Front- from the side of the Air Force Intelligence Branch- and we were very close to the regime forces. When we spotted the regime forces movements, we entered the trench, then we inhaled the abhorrent smell and fainted on the spot”.

The attack was by a bomb containing poisoned substances which did not issue any sound, Abo Sultan added.

Syrians for Truth and Justice could not go closer to the targeted location for photos or videos or even extra testimonies.

The Erbin surgery hospital published photos of some infected people who were exposure to the gas:

Photo No. 1

Photo No. 2

Photo No. 3

On Friday, February 10, 2017, at about 4:00 pm, the Syrian government forces targeted the combat areas containing armed opposition forces with poisoned substances identified to be Chlorine Gas, injuring three fighters of the Syrian armed opposition, according to testimonies obtained by STJ.

Erbin Hospital has published a video tape showing three infected individuals who inhaled the poisoned gas.

The Erbin surgery hospital also released a special report about the attack:

“At 4:40 pm, Friday 10th February 2017, we received three cases of fainting as the regime targeted the outskirts of Erbin town with bombs containing toxic gases. Immediately we conducted the necessary first aids. To acknowledge, this is the second time the regime targeted the outskirts of the town with Chlorine Gas. Absence of consciousness and breathing difficulties were noted and reported by the specialist doctor; the gas used was alleged to be Chlorine Gas because of the chlorine smell on the clothes of the infected. The patients improved after conducting the appropriate emergency procedures and the needed antibiotics”.

An image of one infected man in the Friday attack, February 10, 2017

The Friday attack, February 10, 2017, is considered the fourth attack using toxic gas since 2017. On Monday, January 30, 2017, another combat area in the Tal Hazrma and al-Nashabya Fronts held by Jaish al-Islam were hit by poisonous substances that infected 11 combatants, three of them were considered in critical condition. Witnesses reported green gas with a very bad smell that dispersed across the attacked area.

An image of remnants of the rockets believed to be the source of the toxic gas attack on January 2017. Photo Credit: Media office of Al-Marj

It should be noted that “The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the use of the toxic properties of common chemicals such as chlorine to kill or injure. Among other obligations, each member state agrees never to “assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.” The Laws of War applicable in Syria prohibit the use of chemical weapons. The use of prohibited weapons with criminal intent, deliberately or recklessly, is a war crime. With 192 members, the Chemical Weapons Convention is one of the most universal international treaties on weapons. Only 4 UN member states are not party to the convention: Egypt: Israel, which has signed by not ratified the convention: North Korea; and South Sudan”.[1]



[1] Syria: Coordinated Chemical Attacks on Aleppo, Human Rights Watch,  FEBRUARY 13, 2017: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/02/13/syria-coordinated-chemical-attacks-aleppo

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