ALEPPO - At least four people died and many suffered breathing difficulties when a gas, believed to be chlorine, was dropped alongside barrel bombs on a neighborhood of the Syrian city of Aleppo on Wednesday, a hospital and a civil defense group told Reuters.
Hamza Khatib, the manager of Al Quds hospital in Aleppo, told a Reuters photographer the hospital had recorded four deaths from gas poisoning and 55 injuries. Seven people were still receiving hospital treatment.
Syria Civil Defence, a Syrian rescue service operating in rebel-held territory, told Reuters it had recorded three deaths and 22 injuries after a barrel containing a gas suspected of being chlorine fell on the Zubdiya neighborhood of rebel-held Aleppo.
The group, which describes itself as a neutral band of search and rescue volunteers, said it could not independently verify the nature of the gas.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said helicopters dropped explosive barrels on the neighborhoods of Seif al Dawla and Zubdiya, leading to the death of a woman and her child from suffocation.
The northern city of Aleppo, Syria's most populous before the war, is split into rebel- and government-held districts. Capturing the whole city would be a major prize for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's five-year-old conflict.
A fierce battle for control of the city broke out on Friday when rebels staged a major assault to break through a month-long government siege of the city's rebel-held east, where about 250,000 people are thought to be living.
Fighters managed to pierce the ring of government-controlled territory, but a safe corridor for civilians and aid has not yet been established.