DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A Syrian official and the state news agency say more than 100 people have been treated at hospitals after a suspected poison gas attack by rebels in the northern city of Aleppo, updating an earlier toll.
Forensic Medicine General Director Zaher Hajo told The Associated Press Sunday that those wounded the night before were taken to two hospitals in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.
Hajo says all but 15 of the 105 people who were treated have been discharged. He says two people who were in critical condition have improved.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 94 people were treated, with 31 remaining in hospitals.
Syria’s Arab News Agency, SANA, said the alleged chemical attack late Saturday was carried out by “terrorist groups positioned in Aleppo countryside” that fired shells containing toxic gases on three neighborhoods in Syria’s largest city.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov saidRussian chemical weapons specialists have been dispatched to Aleppo. Russia is a close ally of President Bashar Assad and has intervened in recent years to turn the tide of the civil war in his favor.
“According to preliminary data, particularly the symptoms shown by the victims, the shells that bombarded residential areas of Aleppo were filled with chlorine gas,” Konashenkov said.
In the past, rebels have accused the government of using chlorine gas to attack opposition-held areas. Rebel commanders and opposition figures denied carrying out a chemical attack and accused the government of trying to undermine a cease-fire.
Rebel commander Abdel-Salam Abdel-Razak says the opposition doesn’t possess poisonous gases or the capabilities to lob them, tweeting “These are lies” soon after reports assigning blame emerged.