Russian Federation air strikes hit rebels in Syria's Aleppo after 'gas attacks'

Posted November 28, 2018

Around 100 Syrians were hospitalised with breathing difficulties after the alleged chemical attack in the regime-held city of Aleppo on Saturday, state media and a monitor said.

A leader of the National Liberation Front rebel group dismissed claims that chemical weapons were used, saying the coalition of insurgent forces does not possess poisonous gas.

Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on November 25 that specialists from Russian nuclear, chemical and biological warfare protection units had arrived at the scene of the attacks after Syrian state TV broadcast footage of medics treating people for what appeared to be injuries related to the use of chemical weapons.

The air raids were the first to hit the area since Moscow and rebel backer Ankara agreed to set up the demilitarized area around Idlib in September to prevent a massive regime attack to retake the area.

SANA, Syria's state new agency, said Sunday that 107 people were injured in Aleppo after militants in Idlib hit areas with projectiles that probably contained chlorine.

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Zaher Batal, the head of the Aleppo Doctors Syndicate, told Reuters news agency that it was the first gas attack against civilians in the city since the start of the conflict in 2011.

He said the symptoms included red eyes, heart palpitations and difficulty breathing.

She added that all parties, including the Syrian Government and Russian Federation, should facilitate an investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons into the suspected attack in Aleppo.

Both sides in the Syrian conflict have accused each other of carrying out chemical attacks, which are hard to corroborate in the absence of independent monitors.

"Terrorist groups based in the province of Aleppo, has released the shells with toxic substances in the neighborhoods of al-Halden, Jamat AZ-Zahra street and al-Nile administrative center", - stated in the message.

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Intermittent exchanges of fire have broken out in northwest Syria since the agreement between Russian Federation, a key Damascus ally, and Turkey, which backs some rebel factions.

On Twitter he wrote that "the regime and its allies are using this as an excuse to launch a military operation in north Syria".

Russian Ministry of Defense shared information on the aerial operation around 4.00 p.m. local time (1300 GMT), adding that it targeted groups allegedly involved in the attack.

"The explosive (shells) contain toxic gases that led to choking among civilians", the city's police chief Issam al-Shilli told state media.

Abu Omar, a Failaq al-Sham spokesman, accused Damascus of trying to create "a malicious charade" as a pretext to attack rebel towns.

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Parts of the Aleppo region, as well as the neighbouring provinces of Hama and Idlib, are controlled by Turkish-backed rebels and jihadists. It also blamed Islamic State militants for using mustard gas.