April 15, 2014
1. Poison gas was used by the regime at least 9 times in recent months in:
- Jober, Rural Damascus (twice) on April 03, 2014 and on April 09, 2014.
- Harasta, Rural Damascus (twice) on March 11, 2014 and on March 27, 2014.
- Daraya, Rural Damascus (once) on January 13, 2014
- Kafr Zita, Rural Hama (twice) on April 11, 2014 and on April 12, 2014.
- Tamanaa, Rural Idlib (once) on April 12, 2014.
- Atshan, Rural Hama (once) on April 14, 2014.
2. Syrian National Coalition (SNC) staff contacted local residents and took statements via Skype and satellite phone.
3. In almost all cases, the poison gas was contained in “barrel bombs” or other munitions dropped from the air. The Assad regime is the only side in the current conflict able to deploy aircraft.
4. In cooperation with SNC, trained medics in the targeted areas managed to collect blood and clothing samples, preserve, and then smuggle them out of Syria. The samples were handed over to Turkish authorities.
5. Turkish authorities are analyzing these samples and will make the results available to international investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
6. Residents reported a strong smell of chlorine and victims exhibited symptoms of poison gas exposure. In some instances, canisters were found in the wake of an attack with labelling showing that they contained chlorine gas. However, in at least one case on the outskirts of Damascus, victims exhibited more severe symptoms that were identical to those suffered by victims of the August 21 2013 chemical attacks using Sarin gas.
7. SNC officials in New York are following the analysis being carried out on the samples and are working with friendly nations at the United Nations to make sure the OPCW, the body charged with investigating chemical weapons attacks, has all the information it needs.
The SNC is calling for a full international investigation. The use of toxic substances with the intention of terrorizing and intimidating civilian populations is a stark breach of the Geneva Conventions and a war crime under international law.
For more information, please contact:
Bayan Khatib: [email protected]
Mariam Hamou: [email protected]
Sarah Karkour: [email protected]