Syria’s darkest hour: 1,300 people including women and children wiped out in nerve gas attack (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

The world has looked on in horror today as graphic images emerged showing the aftermath of a dawn poison gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus that wiped out 1,300 people as they lay sleeping in their beds.

Syrian activists accuse President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of launching the nerve gas attack in what would be by far the worst reported use of poison gas in the two-year-old civil war.

Activists said rockets with chemical agents hit the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar before dawn.

While these pictures of dead children are graphic, disturbing and undoubtedly the worst so far to have emerged from the conflict, MailOnline has made the decision to publish them in order to raise awareness of the plight of innocent people in a war that shows no sign of ending.

Slaughter: Syrian activists inspect the bodies of people they say were killed by nerve gas in DamascusSlaughter: Syrian activists inspect the bodies of people they say were killed by nerve gas in Damascus

 

The activists said at least 213 people, including women and children, were killedy in a nerve gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad's forcesThe activists said at least 213 people, including women and children, were killedy in a nerve gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces

 

Bodies of people, including children, activists say were killed by nerve gasBodies of people, including children, activists say were killed by nerve gas

Innocent: The dead bodies of Syrian children after an alleged poisonous gas attack fired by regime forcesInnocent: Dead bodies of Syrian children after an alleged poisonous gas rocket attack fired by regime forces

The accounts could not be verified independently and were denied by Syrian state television, which said they were disseminated deliberately to distract a team of United Nations chemical weapons experts that arrived three days ago.

Syria’s Information Minister called the activists’ claim a ‘disillusioned and fabricated one whose objective is to deviate and mislead’ the UN mission.

Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh, reporting from neighbouring Jordan, said there were videos allegedly showing both children and adults in field hospitals, some of them suffocating, coughing and sweating.

 

‘We have been receiving reports that the doctors in the field hospitals do not have the right medication to treat these cases and that they were treating people with vinegar and water,’ she said.

A young survivor of the alleged gas attack cries as he takes shelter inside a mosque A young survivor of the alleged gas attack cries as he takes shelter inside a mosque

 

A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, is treated in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, is treated in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen

A man is treated in hospital for the effects of chemical poisoning after the suspected Sarin attack A man is treated in hospital for the effects of chemical poisoning after the suspected Sarin attack

 

A boy who survived what activists say is a gas attack cries as he takes shelter inside a mosque in the Duma neighbourhood of DamascusA boy who survived what activists say is a gas attack cries as he takes shelter inside a mosque in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus

This image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube allegedly shows Syrians covering a mass grave containing bodies of victims of the attackAn undignified end: This image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube allegedly shows Syrians covering a mass grave containing bodies of victims of the attack. The atrocity seems all too familiar to the children and young men standing around the grave site

A wounded Syrian girl waits for treatment. It has been reported that medical staff lack vital supplies needed to treat those affectedA wounded Syrian girl waits for treatment. It has been reported that medical staff lack vital supplies needed to treat those affected

 

Meanwhile, fighting in strife-hit country has fuelled a mass exodus of about 35,000 refugees into Iraq and risks exploding into a full-blown side conflict as Kurdish militias battled against al-Qaida-linked fighters in the northeast.

SARIN: ONE OF THE MOST DEADLY CHEMICAL AGENTS 

Activists say the nerve agent Sarin was used in the alleged chemical weapons attack that killed up to 1,300 people.

Sarin is colourless, tasteless and odourless, unlike mustard gas which smells of rotten onions or garlic.

It is one of the most toxic of the known chemical warfare agents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Once a person has breathed in Sarin, death can occur within one to 10 minutes if there is no treatment.

If it is drunk, the victim can survive for up to 18 hours.

A fraction of an ounce of the nerve agent on the skin can be fatal.

Exposure to the gas causes pupils to shrink to pinpoint sizes and foaming at the lips.

Symptoms include paralysis, loss of consciousness and respiratory failure.

Treatment needs to be given straight away and antidotes include Atropine and pralidoxime chloride.

Syria is believed to have one of the largest arsenals in the world of chemical weapons, including Sarin and mustard gas.

A U.N. team is in Syria investigating allegations that both rebels and army forces used poison gas in the past, one of the main disputes in international diplomacy over Syria.

 

The European Union condemned the suspected use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces Wednesday as ‘totally unacceptable’, demanding an immediate investigation.

EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton said charges by Syria’s main opposition group that the chemical attack ‘should be immediately and thoroughly investigated.’

A UN mission in Syria to probe previous allegations of chemical weapons use ‘must be allowed full and unhindered access to all sites,’ Ashton said, according to a spokesperson.

‘The EU reiterates that any use of chemical weapons, by any side in Syria, would be totally unacceptable,’ she said.

The authorities and all other parties in Syria ‘need to provide all necessary support to and cooperation with the mission’s operations,’ Ashton said as she gathered EU foreign ministers for a meeting on the crisis in Egypt.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, speaking in Brussels, said if proven the use of chemical weapons would ‘not only be a massacre, but also an unprecedented atrocity’.

Fabius said however that the accusations from the Syrian opposition were ‘not yet verified’.

The White House says it’s ‘deeply concerned’ about reports that chemical weapons were used by Syria’s government against civilians.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the U.S. strongly condemns any use of chemical weapons and says the Obama administration is urgently working to gather information. Earnest says the U.S. is asking the U.N. to investigate and wants a Security Council debate.

Syria must allow the UN inspectors immediate access to investigate claims that chemical weapons were used in the attack, William Hague has demanded.

Many women and children were among the dead. The area reportedly bombed is residentialMany women and children were among the dead. The area reportedly bombed is residential

The Foreign Secretary said that uncorroborated reports of toxic agents being used would mark a ‘shocking escalation’ if they are verified and warned that those who use them ‘should be in no doubt that we will work in every way we can to hold them to account’.

Mr Hague said: ‘I am deeply concerned by reports that hundreds of people, including children, have been killed in air strikes and a chemical weapons attack on rebel-held areas near Damascus.’

He added before a meeting with his French counterpart: ‘I hope this will wake up some who have supported the Assad regime to realise its murderous and barbaric nature.’

Russia, too, urged an ‘objective’ investigation but Assad’s biggest foreign ally also heaped scepticism on his enemies’ claims.

A foreign ministry spokesman in Moscow said the release of gas after UN inspectors arrived suggested that it was a rebel ‘provocation’ to discredit Syria’s government.

Read more: Daily Mail


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Comments

  • Hmmm why are people dying like flies?

    Bachal Markus August 21, 2013 9:04 pm
    • Let thy kingdom come oh Lord. This is too much to bear

      Kay. August 21, 2013 10:35 pm
  • US killed sadam husein,dey killed osama bin laden and also killed muamah ghagafi, why not kill dis antelope called al-ba share for his atrocities

    Wani25 August 22, 2013 12:37 am
  • I just watched the video on bbc now. This is wickedness. People like us in convulsion,stale eyes n shivering to death. Allah(God) please forgive us our sins in this world. Truly, the time is near,it is near. The messiah would b around soon but only Allah knows.

    ibrahim August 22, 2013 11:15 pm
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