Syria fighting rages amid reports of chemical attacks

President Assad's forces, Hezbollah fighters advance around Qusair amid renewed reports of chemical weapons attacks.

By REUTERS
May 27, 2013 14:08
3 minute read.
Free Syrian Army, Syrian Army soldiers clash

Syria fighting 370. (photo credit: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters)

BEIRUT - Heavy fighting raged on Monday around the strategic border town of Qusair and the capital Damascus, amid

Victims in Oxygen masks

Video posted online from the eastern suburb of Harasta showed lines of victims lying on the floor of a large room, covered in blankets and breathing from oxygen masks.

Both sides in the conflict, now in its third year, have accused each other of using chemical weapons. France's Le Monde newspaper published first-hand accounts on Monday of apparent chemical attacks by Assad's forces in April.

Another video from Harasta overnight showed at least two fighters being put into a van, their eyes watering and struggling to breathe while medics put tubes into their throats.

It was not possible to verify the videos independently, given the difficulties of media access in Syria.

A doctor interviewed in another video said the alleged chemical attack in Harasta was revenge for a rebel raid on nearby military checkpoints. He complained of a severe shortage in staff and medical supplies to treat such victims.

"We have dozens of wounded from another chemical gas bomb attack ... As you can see there are many people here just lying on the floor with no one to treat them," said the doctor, who did not give his name.

Many of the fighters affected by the attack, according to one opposition group, had recovered sufficiently to return to battle, suggesting its severity had been limited.

"Praise God, all our wounded men are in a stable condition," said the Harasta Media Group in a statement on Skype. "They are doing well and many have even returned to the frontline."


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