Washington, DC- A chemical agent attack was reported in the eastern suburbs of Hama in the Aqeerbat area today. At least 93 civilians have been killed and over 300 wounded. The attacks happened at approximately 6:30 a.m. Damascus time amidst heavy airstrikes which lasted over an hour in the area.
Aljarrouh Village: 35 Dead
Alsalalieh Village: 43 Dead
Hamada Omar Village: 7 Dead
Alkastal Village: 2 Dead
Alkhouderah Village 6 Dead
Many of the victims were children. Victims exposed to the odorless, colorless gas experienced symptoms including: dilated pupils, convulsions, extreme dry cough, bloody secretions, suffocation, nausea and vomiting. The victims that were killed died very quickly, had foaming of the mouth, and no signs of physical injury. Casualty numbers were high due to shortages of medical staff with chemical weapons response training.
The attacks coincided with a “Humanitarian Ultimatum” issued by President Francois Hollande of France, demanding the safety of 100,000 people fleeing Aleppo and for the safe passage of humanitarian aid to those in desperate need. The statement came after a meeting with Dr. Ziad Alissa -President of UOSSM France, Professor Raphael Pitti- Board Member of UOSSM France, the President of MSF and the President of MDM.
UOSSM is disgusted by the vulgarity of these attacks against children and civilians. We ask the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition Of Chemical Weapons) to fulfill it’s mandate and launch an immediate investigation into this attack and hold perpetrators responsible for war crimes (UNSC-R 2118, UNSC-R 2209).
In addition, approximately 100,000 civilians in eastern Aleppo are confided to a very small area, under constant and relentless bombardment, with no access to medical or humanitarian aid. Many of those civilians are women and children. Hundreds require immediate medical attention and need to be evacuated. Given the severe targeting of aid /healthcare workers, we plead with the UN and WHO to use every power at their disposal to evacuate aid workers, NGO staff and their families from Aleppo. The genocidal killings in Syria must stop now.
Dr. Khaula Sawah, CEO of UOSSM USA said, ” I just cannot describe the situation any more. 100 people, mostly children and women die instantly from exposure to an unknown chemical gas while almost 100,000 people are waiting for the moment of death, as many in the Aleppo area are calling out and recording their wills, believing this is their last message. We have been calling on the international community and all responsible parties to stop this massacre; yet genocide is occurring, people are being massacred and action has yet to be taken.”
Dr. Sawah added, “We, as humanitarians will continue to work and provide medical relief to the best of our capacity, at least we know we are doing what we are supposed to do to save lives. The failure of the international community will be recorded in history, and I do hope they will take action before it is too late. I call on every human being with a beating heart to not accept what is going on and to act to the best of their ability, so that these messages, coming from a battered people who have lost all hope, won’t be their last.”