Chlorine gas attack in Hama province
[The Peninsula] Opposition activists have posted a video of what they say is chlorine gas floating through the streets of a Syrian village and they accuse President Bashar Al Assad of mounting a chemical weapons campaign.
Activists and medical sources said the village of Kfar Zeita, in the central province of Hama 200km north of Damascus, has been the focus of a two-month-old assault in which chlorine gas canisters have been dropped out of helicopters.
The government denies its forces have used chlorine or deadlier poisonous gases and blames all chemical attacks on rebels waging a three-year-old uprising against Assad.
The Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has opened an investigation into the alleged chlorine attacks, more than a dozen of which have been reported since April 11 in several areas.
"Inspectors for the fact-finding mission arrived in Syria last week and are trying to get to some of the sites," the OPCW said. Text accompanying the opposition video, posted by a user called Mustapha Jamaa, said it was filmed on Thursday in Kfar Zeita by the Revolution General Commission opposition group.
It showed green-yellow gas in a street. A man runs away from the gas cloud with a woman who is holding a cloth to her mouth. Another man in camouflage trousers and wearing a gas mask calls out for a car to assist the woman. A voice off screen says: "Chlorine gas bombing. Yellow smoke."
Rooters could not independently verify the authenticity of the footage. The video did not show an impact site or indicate where it was filmed.
A freelance photographer said he arrived at the scene of the attack an hour after a helicopter dropped the bomb.
"The smell of chlorine was very obvious. It smelt like vinegar, or bleach. I started to cough and hyperventilate. My eyes were burning," he said.
One of his photos showed the woman who was running away from the gas in the video. She was being treated with oxygen at a field hospital.
"There were 70 maimed people," he said. "Those who were at the impact site fainted."
Activists said Kfar Zeita was attacked twice on Thursday, as well as the village of Al Tamana'a in northwest Idlib province.
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