'Even Birds Fell From the Sky': Syrians Have No Doubt Chemical Attack Carried Out by Assad Regime

Opposition health official says medical supplies are lacking to care for those wounded in an alleged chemical attack in Idlib.

A still image taken from a video posted to a social media website on April 4, 2017, shows a man being sprayed with water, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in Idlib, Syria.
A still image taken from a video posted to a social media website on April 4, 2017, shows a man being sprayed with water, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in Idlib, Syria. Social Media Website via Reuters

As far as the residents of Idlib are concerned, there's no doubt that chemical weapons were used in an attack Tuesday that killed at least 100, a senior Syrian opposition figure near Idlib told Haaretz.

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"All the pictures and all the witness accounts suggest as much," said the opposition figure. "Bodies of children, women and men that don't show a drop of blood and everyone is suffocated - even birds fell from the sky, dead. If anyone in the world has any doubt, they should send their representatives here. Since the morning we've just been counting bodies. So far we've counted 100 and we have a list of names. 

"A large number of those who were wounded have been evacuated to Turkish territory but you have to understand that for many, there wasn't anything we could do and we won't be able to save them," he said.

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According to the same source, there is also no doubt that the chemical attack was perpetrated by the Assad regime's air force. "This was a Sukhoi 22 and we have the name of the pilot," he said. "He lives in the area of Homs and I'm telling you that we will reach him and his family, but what's important is to save as many people as possible and to treat the wounded.

"In the afternoon, we managed to  get in a special chemical inspection vehicle. It entered through the Turkish border and has arrived in the area of Khan Sheikhoun. The attack today was one of three and yesterday other towns were attacked."

A senior source in the opposition's Health Ministry told Haaretz that, "We don't have any way to describe the situation besides calling it a catastrophe - more than 100 dead." He added that there were 30 in serious condition, most of whose lives were still in danger, that were evacuated to Turkey.

"We don't have any special means to help people - no suits and no masks for rescue personnel," he continued. "Hospitals that are only partially functional don't have anywhere to treat the wounded. The wounded are scattered out in every corner. A central hospital in the area ... was bombed two days ago and can't treat any patients. I've been going between the wounded myself and feel helpless. I don't have any way to help. The outlook here is very difficult."

The Syrian army published a statement denying any use of chemical weapons saying that "There was no use of chemical weapons against civilians or terrorist organization in the Idlib district."

According to the statement, the opposition groups are responsible for the harm of civilians and are trying to blame the Syrian army every time is fails to reach any of its military goals in the field.

However, the U.S. said Tuesday it believes that the chemical agent used in the attack was sarin gas and was "almost certainly" carried out by Syrian government forces.

Reuters contributed to this report.