Opposition forces say that Syrian Army regulars are again using chemical weapons in the battle to win the savage civil war raging across Israel’s northern border.
The rebels reported late Tuesday night that forces fighting for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dropped bombs Monday containing a combination of tear gas and the lethal nerve agent, sarin gas, in attacks on Damascus areas in their control.
Residents in the neighborhoods of Zamalka – where six were killed and dozens of others were injured – and Qaboun, where the number of dead and injured is not known – suffered a host of symptoms from the attack.
Victims were treated at rebel-run medical facilities for convulsions, chest and abdominal pain, dizziness, breathing difficulties and contraction of pupils known as myosis, according to Bloomberg News, quoting Dan Layman, a spokesman for the Syrian Support Group.
There was no was to independently confirm the reports, and the U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to questions about the alleged incidents.
Last week Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said his government shared a U.S. conclusion that Assad forces have been using chemical weapons against their own people.
“The U.S. has reported multiple instances of small-scale chemical weapons use by the Assad regime,” Carr told the Australian Senate. “Casualties are estimated at between 100 and 150 people.” However, Australia’s government said it would limit its intervention to humanitarian aid.
The U.S. had issued a statement announcing it had “conclusive proof” that Assad had used chemical weapons, including sarin gas, against opposition forces.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has added his voice to the growing international chorus of concern over the issue. Speaking in France earlier this month, Harper said, “We share the view of our allies, I think, based on the evidence before us, that there have been uses of chemical weapons in Syria by the regime.”
British Foreign Secretary William Hague likewise said the UK has also concluded that Assad has been using chemical weapons, including sarin gas.
A United Nations report released earlier this month noted that at least 93,000 people have died in the conflict that began in March 2011.