syria's darkest hour

Upload: 3fnqz8tg

Post on 02-Apr-2018




0 download

Embed Size (px)


  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Syria's darkest hour: Hundreds of children's

    bodies piled high after nerve gas attack nearDamascus leaves up to 1,300 dead

    Activists claim 1,300 killed in government rocket strike on residential area

    If true, it would represent the worst known use of chemical weapons since

    Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurds in the town of Halabja in 1988

    Chemical warheads hit suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar

    They hit just before dawn as families lay sleeping

    A UN team is in Syria to probe chemical weapons use by President Assad

    Many countries have called for an immediate investigation

    French Foreign Minister has called the attack an 'unprecedented atrocity'

    William Hague said hopes attack will 'wake up some' who support Assad

    Claims come as refugees flood into Iraqi Kurdistan

    By Sam Webb

    PUBLISHED: 08:11 GMT, 21 August 2013 | UPDATED: 14:25 GMT, 22 August 2013





    The world has looked on in horror as graphic images emerged showing the aftermath of a dawn poison gas

    attack in the suburbs of Damascus that wiped out 1,300 people as they lay sleeping in their beds.

    Syrian activists accuse President Bashar al-Assad's forces of launching the nerve gas attack in what would be

    by far the worst reported use of poison gas in the two-year-old civil war.

    Activists said rockets with chemical agents hit the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar beforedawn.

    While these pictures of dead children are graphic, disturbing and undoubtedly the worst so far to have

    emerged from the conflict, MailOnline has made the decision to publish them in order to raise awareness of

    the plight of innocent people in a war that shows no sign of ending.

    Scroll down for video

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Slaughter: Syrian activists inspect the bodies of people they say were killed by nerve gas

    in Damascus

    The activists said at least 213 people, including women and children, were killedy in a

    nerve gas attack by President Bashar al-Assad's forces

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Bodies of people, including children, activists say were killed by nerve gas

    Innocent: Dead bodies of Syrian children after an alleged poisonous gas rocket attack

    fired by regime forces

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    The accounts could not be verified independently and were denied by Syrian state television, which said they

    were disseminated deliberately to distract a team of United Nations chemical weapons experts that arrived

    three days ago.

    Syria's Information Minister called the activists' claim a 'disillusioned and fabricated one whose objective is to

    deviate and mislead' the UN mission.

    Al Jazeeras Nisreen El-Shamayleh, reporting from neighbouring Jordan, said there were videos allegedly

    showing both children and adults in field hospitals, some of them suffocating, coughing and sweating.

    'We have been receiving reports that the doctors in the field hospitals do not have the right medication to treat

    these cases and that they were treating people with vinegar and water,' she said.

    GRAPHIC CONTENT expert says Syria attack shows trauma to nervous...

    A young survivor of the alleged gas attack cries as he takes shelter inside a mosque

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, is treated in the Damascus suburbs of


  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    A man is treated in hospital for the effects of chemical poisoning after the suspected

    Sarin attack

    A boy who survived what activists say is a gas attack cries as he takes shelter inside a

    mosque in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    An undignified end: This image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube allegedly

    shows Syrians covering a mass grave containing bodies of victims of the attack. The

    atrocity seems all too familiar to the children and young men standing around the grave


  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    A wounded Syrian girl waits for treatment. It has been reported that medical staff lack

    vital supplies needed to treat those affected

    VIDEO: Nerve gas attack near Damascus kills 213. Graphic content

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    White House says investigation of Syria top priority

    Meanwhile, fighting in strife-hit country has fuelled a mass exodus of about 35,000 refugees into Iraq and risks

    exploding into a full-blown side conflict as Kurdish militias battled against al-Qaida-linked fighters in the



    Activists say the nerve agent Sarin was used in the alleged chemical weapons attack that killed up to 1,300


    Sarin is colourless, tasteless and odourless, unlike mustard gas which smells of rotten onions or garlic.

    It is one of the most toxic of the known chemical warfare agents, according to the Centers for Disease Control

    and Prevention.

    Once a person has breathed in Sarin, death can occur within one to 10 minutes if there is no treatment.

    If it is drunk, the victim can survive for up to 18 hours.

    A fraction of an ounce of the nerve agent on the skin can be fatal.

    Exposure to the gas causes pupils to shrink to pinpoint sizes and foaming at the lips.

    Symptoms include paralysis, loss of consciousness and respiratory failure.

    Treatment needs to be given straight away and antidotes include Atropine and pralidoxime chloride.

    Syria is believed to have one of the largest arsenals in the world of chemical weapons, including Sarin and

    mustard gas.

    The European Union condemned the suspected use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces

    Wednesday as 'totally unacceptable', demanding an immediate investigation.

    EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton said charges by Syrias main opposition group that the chemical

    attack 'should be immediately and thoroughly investigated.'

    A U.N. team is in Syria investigating allegations that both rebels and army forces used poison gas in the past,

    one of the main disputes in international diplomacy over Syria.

    It 'must be allowed full and unhindered access to all sites,' Ashton said, according to a spokesperson.

    'The EU reiterates that any use of chemical weapons, by any side in Syria, would be totally unacceptable,' she


    The authorities and all other parties in Syria 'need to provide all necessary support to and cooperation with the

    missions operations,' Ashton said as she gathered EU foreign ministers for a meeting on the crisis in Egypt.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, speaking in Brussels, said if proven the use of chemical weapons

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    would 'not only be a massacre, but also an unprecedented atrocity'.

    Fabius said however that the accusations from the Syrian opposition were 'not yet verified'.

    The White House says it's 'deeply concerned' about reports that chemical weapons were used by Syria's

    government against civilians.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the U.S. strongly condemns any use of chemical weapons and

    says the Obama administration is urgently working to gather information. Earnest says the U.S. is asking the

    U.N. to investigate and wants a Security Council debate.Syria must allow the UN inspectors immediate access to investigate claims that chemical weapons were used

    in the attack, William Hague has demanded.

    Many women and children were among the dead. The area reportedly bombed is


    As the United Nations Security Council met to discuss reports of a deadly chemical weapon attack, the

    Foreign Secretary said that uncorroborated reports of toxic agents being used would mark a 'shocking

    escalation' if they are verified and warned that those who use them 'should be in no doubt that we will work in

    every way we can to hold them to account'.

    Mr Hague said: 'I am deeply concerned by reports that hundreds of people, including children, have been

    killed in air strikes and a chemical weapons attack on rebel-held areas near Damascus. '

    He added before a meeting with his French counterpart: 'I hope this will wake up some who have supported

    the Assad regime to realise its murderous and barbaric nature.'

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    The United Nations Security Council, failed to agree on on a firmly worded call on Syria during the two-hour

    closed-door meeting, sources said.

    Argentina's UN Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, the current council president, said afterwards that the

    council backed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's determination for 'a thorough, impartial and prompt

    investigation' into the allegations.

    Diplomats, who did not want to be named, told the Associated Press that Russia and China blocked a stronger

    press statement supported by Britain, France, the United States and others.

    The team of UN inspectors was only recently granted access to Syria - and would need permission to extend

    its work beyond the sites where chemical weapons were previously alleged to have been used.

    Victim: A Syrian girl receiving treatment at a makeshift hospital, in Arbeen, Damascus

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    These horrendous pictures were provided by citizen journalists in Syria

    'There is no excuse for the Syrian regime not to provide access to the UN team that are in Damascus now to

    assess the use of chemical weapons,' Mr Hague said.

    Russia, too, has urged an 'objective' investigation but Assad's biggest foreign ally also heaped scepticism on

    his enemies' claims.

    A foreign ministry spokesman in Moscow said the release of gas after UN inspectors arrived suggested that it

    was a rebel 'provocation' to discredit Syria's government.

    'These reports are uncorroborated and we are urgently seeking more information. But it is clear that if they are

    verified, it would mark a shocking escalation in the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

    'Those who order the use of chemical weapons, and those who use them, should be in no doubt that we will

    work in every way we can to hold them to account.

    'I call on the Syrian government to allow immediate access to the area for the UN team currently investigating

    previous allegations of chemical weapons use. The UK will be raising this incident at the UN Security Council.'

    Syria's neighbour Turkey said it was clear that chemical weapons had been used.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview broadcast on Turkey's Kanal 24 television: 'Use

    of chemical weapons in Syria is evident from the footage coming from there.

    Horrific aftermath of chemical gas attack in Damascus

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Grim toll: Fighting in Syria has killed an estimated 100,000 people so far

    'We have called for an immediate investigation by the U.N. teams.'

    A nurse at Douma Emergency Collection facility, Bayan Baker, said the death toll, as collated from medical

    centres in the suburbs east of Damascus, was 213.

    'Many of the casualties are women and children. They arrived with their pupil dilated, cold limbs and foam in

    their mouths. The doctors say these are typical symptoms of nerve gas victims,' the nurse said.


    In July 2012, the Syrian government admitted that Syria had stocks of chemical weapons, but said they

    would would never be used 'inside Syria'.

    In March this year it was reported that chemical weapons were used by rebels in the town of Khan

    al-Assal in northern Syria, killing 16.

    On the same day as the attack in Khan al-Assal, the opposition uploaded videos they claimed showed

    victims of a bombardment in the village of al-Otaybeh near Damascus.

    On March 24 it was reported that two people were killed and 'dozens' injured in Adra by 'chemical

    phosphorus bombs'.

    On April 29 eyewitnesses said helicopters dropped canisters onto the town of Saraqeb, hospitalisingeight.

    Extensive amateur video and photographs purporting to show victims appeared on the Internet. A video

    puportedly shot in the Kafr Batna neighbourhood showed a room filled with more than 90 bodies, many of

    them children and a few women and elderly men.

    Most of the bodies appeared ashen or pale but with no visible injuries. About a dozen were wrapped in


    Other footage showed doctors treating people in makeshift clinics. One video showed the bodies of a dozen

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    people lying on the floor of a clinic, with no visible wounds.

    The narrator in the video said they were all members of a single family. In a corridor outside lay another five


    A photograph taken by activists in Douma showed the bodies of at least 16 children and three adults, one

    wearing combat fatigues, laid at the floor of a room in a medical facility where bodies were collected.

    Khaled Omar of the opposition Local Council in Ain Tarma said he saw at least 80 bodies at the Hajjah

    Hospital in Ain Tarma and at a makeshift clinic at Tatbiqiya School in the nearby district of Saqba.'The attack took place at around 3:00 a.m. (local time). Most of those killed were in their homes,' Omar said.

    Syrian state television quoted a source as saying there was 'no truth whatsoever' to the reports.

    Syria is one of just a handful of countries that are not parties to the international treaty that bans chemical

    weapons, and Western nations believe it has caches of undeclared mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve agents.

    Activists say most of those killed were in their homes

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Heartbreak: Relatives and activists inspect the bodies of the dead

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague says the gas attacks are a 'shocking escalation'

    Assad's officials have said they would never use poison gas - if they had it - against Syrians. The United

    States and European allies believe Assad's forces used small amounts of sarin gas in attacks in the past,

    which Washington called a 'red line' that justified international military aid for the rebels.

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Assad's government has responded in the past with accusations that it was the rebels that used chemical

    weapons, which the rebels deny.

    Western countries say they do not believe the rebels have access to poison gas. Assad's main global ally

    Moscow says accusations on both sides must be investigated.

    A Syrian family sits in a tent at Kawergost refugee camp in Iraq. Around 34,000 Syrians,

    the vast majority of them Kurds, have fled the region over a five days

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Desperate: Syrian refugees cross into Iraq at the Peshkhabour border point in Dahuk

    Around 30,000 Syrians, the vast majority of them Kurds, have fled the region over a

    five-day stretch and crossed the border to the self-ruled Kurdish region of northern Iraq

    Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby yesterday called for United Nations inspectors to immediately

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    investigate reports of the chemical attack.

    'The secretary general said in a statement he was surprised this deplorable crime would happen during the

    visit of a team of international investigators with the United Nations who are already tasked with investigating

    chemical weapons use,' the official news agency MENA said.

    'He called on the inspectors to head immediately to the eastern Ghouta (suburb of Damascus) to determine

    what happened.'

    The timing and location of the reported chemical weapons use - just three days after the team of U.N.chemical experts checked in to a Damascus hotel a few miles to the east at the start of their mission - was


    'Logically, it would make little sense for the Syrian government to employ chemical agents at such a time,

    particularly given the relatively close proximity of the targeted towns (to the U.N. team),' said Charles Lister,

    analysts at IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre.

    'Nonetheless, the Ghouta region (where the attacks were reported) is well known for its opposition leanings.

    Authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan have imposed a quota in an effort to limit the flood of


    Jabhat al-Nusra has had a long-time presence there and the region has borne the brunt of sustained military

    pressure for months now,' he said, referring to a hardline Sunni Islamist rebel group allied to al Qaeda.

    'While it is clearly impossible to confirm the chemical weapons claim, it is clear from videos uploaded by

    reliable accounts that a large number of people have died.'

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said dozens of people were

    killed, including children, in fierce bombardment. It said Mouadamiya, southwest of the capital, came under the

    heaviest attack since the start of the two-year conflict.

    The Observatory called on the U.N. experts and international organisations to visit the affected areas to

    ensure aid could be delivered and to 'launch an investigation to determine who was responsible for the

    bombardment and hold them to account'.

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Skater gets punched for accidentally running into little boy

    Newsreader's daughter interrupts live TV report

    Look out behind you! Massive waves hit enclosed beach

    INSIDE COURT: Handcuffed British 'drug mules' refused bail

    Tourists terrified as Russian military ship ploughs into...

    Man plays hilarious iMac prank on shoppers at mall

    VIDEO: Nerve gas attack near Damascus kills 213. Graphic...

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Jogger throws two puppies over wall as they follow him in...

    Two UK women accused of drug-trafficking appear in court

    Brazen pooch caught on camera stealing pizza

    First night-time F-35 vertical landing looks like a UFO

    Full length advert for Kelly Brook's sexy Lynx Apollo...







    Tearful, terrified and handcuffed together, the British...

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    The town that never woke up: Inside the devastated Damascus...

    How a painfully shy boy grew up to be the world's most...

    Street justice? Furious mother punches skater who...

    Syria's darkest hour: Hundreds of children's bodies piled...

    Sadistic father beat his newborn daughter, held a pillow...

    Couple kept two dogs in cage behind sofa for 22 hours a day...

    British tourist who lost a leg in New York taxi crash says...

    Seven million customers duped by banks over credit card...

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Peaceful here, isn't it darling: Sun-worshipper with her...

    GCSE grades suffer biggest fall for 25 years as Government...

    Britain's rundown seaside towns: How our coastal towns are...

    Comments (1896)



    Best rated

    Worst rated

    View all

    Heartbreaking tragic mess. Wasn't the UN created to deal with stuff like this? The world sits on its hands and the children die.


    - Rick60 , Cuiaba, 22/8/2013 08:41

    Click to rate Rating 863

    Report abuse

    Please do something about this.

    - Enie , Northants.UK, 22/8/2013 08:41

    Click to rate Rating 568

    Report abuse

    - johnbrianshannon, Vancouver, 22/08/2013 07:34 Enjoy your laptop, smartphone that you used to post this message

    - Rudolf , Jupiter, 22/8/2013 08:40

    Click to rate Rating 181

    Report abuse

    WE need to put an end to this NOW before any more innocent children die! Do what it takes and stop this today.

    - Berlesduna - Essex , London, United Kingdom, 22/8/2013 08:38

    Click to rate Rating 351

  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Report abuse

    The most distressing image for me is the teenage boy crying. Old enough to feel the full impact, not old enough to ever make any

    sense of it. Mentally damaged now beyond repair, this event will be with him for the rest of his life. Always thinking the worst, always

    aware of how cruel people can be. He's seen it first hand. How does a teenage get past that?

    - Chris , Staines U T, 22/8/2013 08:38

    Click to rate Rating 549

    Report abuse

    Their fight is over, pray for the living.

    - geek , Cornwall, 22/8/2013 08:37

    Click to rate Rating 191

    Report abuse

    I think DM should remove the photos of the dead children's faces. No one wants to look at dead children! Poor babies. - Rachel ,

    somewhere sunny, 21/8/2013 15:22 Click to rate Rating 22 She gets 22 green arrows and i get red arrows....funny people

    sometimes... Just remember that when 9/11 happened we did not see any pictures of the casualties or dead people. Just a thought

    of how people are rated these days!

    - GIGA , beirut, Lebanon, 22/8/2013 08:36

    Click to rate Rating 119

    Report abuse

    I don't mean to sound insensitive here, but could this all be staged for propaganda purposes? Those children look like they are

    asleep, not dead.To me (and I have seen many bodies) they have too much colour to be dead.

    - scotty , wales, 22/8/2013 08:36

    Click to rate Rating 513

    Report abuse

    Words cannot describe. RIP to all children taken too early in life.

    - James , Manchester, 22/8/2013 08:35

    Click to rate Rating 341

    Report abuse

    Obama: Red line crossed, or can you only pick on BP & Banks

    - fed up , bolton, United Kingdom, 22/8/2013 08:35

    Click to rate Rating 218

    Report abuse

    Share this comment

    The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.





  • 7/27/2019 Syria's Darkest Hour


    Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd

    Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

    Associated Newspapers Ltd