Activists in eastern Ghouta said that regime forces on Monday hit the town of Maida’ani with chlorine-filled bombs, causing many cases of asphyxiation among residents in the town. The chlorine attack came as regime forces and their allied foreign militias pressed on with their assault on the outskirts of eastern Ghouta.
Activists said that regime forces resorted to the use of the toxic chlorine gas after rebel fighters in the town of Maida’ani repelled a violent regime ground attack on eastern Ghouta. Many pro-regime forces were reportedly killed and injured in the ongoing clashes.
A similar attack earlier targeted the nearby town of Raihan, while the town of Douma was hit napalm, causing civilian casualties.
On January 13, international investigators said for the first time that they suspected Bashar al-Assad and his brother, Maher, were responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
A joint inquiry carried out by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had previously identified only military units and had not named any commanders or officials.
Now a list has been produced of individuals whom the investigators have linked to a series of chlorine bomb attacks in 2014-15 – including Assad, his younger brother Maher and other high-ranking figures – indicating the decision to use toxic weapons came from the very top, according to a source familiar with the inquiry.
Assad and members of his inner circle are responsible for dozens of chemical attacks, most notably the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta in 2013 where over 1,200 people were killed, many of them children. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Agencies)