Dozens of people, including at least ten children, have been killed and over 200 injured as a result of asphyxiation caused by exposure to an unknown gas or chemical agent in northern Syria on Tuesday, multiple activist groups were reporting.
Airstrikes hit the city of Khan Sheikhoun, in Idlib province, at 6.30 a.m. giving off a “poisonous gas,” according to Anas al-Diab, an activist with the Aleppo Media Center.
Five minutes later, three more strikes hit the same city center location but did not result in any gas, al-Diab added.
Videos circulating on social media purporting to be from the scene show people, including children, who appear unresponsive; others are seen struggling to breathe or wearing oxygen masks.
Doctors are attempting to evacuate the wounded to Turkey, according to activists.
Conflicting reports about death toll
Activist al-Diab said the death toll was at least 67, while activist group Idlib Media Center reported that dozens were killed. Elsewhere the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 58 were dead, including ten children.
The High Negotiations Committee, an umbrella opposition group, claimed the death toll could be as high as 100 with up to 400 injured. Activist groups have blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime for the attack.
The Syrian Coalition, another umbrella opposition group, referred to the attack in a Twitter post as a “crime similar to that in Eastern Ghouta in 2013 that the international community allowed to pass without accountability or punishment.”
The tweet was referring to a notorious and widely reported chemical attack that was blamed on the Syrian regime.