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Children are killed in gas attack by Assad's forces in Syria, claims rights group

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A rebel fighter aims his weapon at Morek front line in the northern countryside of Hama, in Syria

A rebel fighter aims his weapon at Morek front line in the northern countryside of Hama, in Syria

REUTERS

A rebel fighter aims his weapon at Morek front line in the northern countryside of Hama, in Syria

Syrian government forces allegedly carried out a suspected gas attack that killed a family of six, including three children, a Syrian human rights watchdog has claimed.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said alleged gas attacks on the north-eastern town of Sarmin also injured dozens more civilians.

The Observatory said those injured suffered from "suffocation" after "barrel bombardment".

It quoted sources who said those killed in the attack included a man, his wife, their three children and a grandmother.

The SOHR also cited medical sources as saying they died as a result of gas from barrel bombs containing a chemical likely to be chlorine.

Lifeless

The Idlib branch of the Syrian Civil Defence rescue organisation, which operates in insurgent-held areas, posted seven disturbing videos on YouTube, some after dark and some in what appeared to be a medical centre.

One video showed three children and a woman, all apparently unconscious, in a medical centre.

A voice off-camera said the name of the town, Sarmin.

"One of the infants, only a few months old," a male voice can be heard saying as he films a baby on a stretcher with liquid around its mouth.

Two more infants with limp bodies are brought in, one by a man wearing a gas mask and another man carrying a young girl.

"She's still alive, doctor," a man checking the girl says. "Doctor, doctor, she is still breathing."

The condition of all of the children is not clear.

One woman, who appears not to be moving, is shown on the camera as a "fatality".

The authenticity of the video could not be immediately verified.

Earlier, Amnesty International said Syrian government air strikes on the Isil stronghold of Raqqa on November 25 killed dozens of civilians.

Unlawful

The human rights group said it had evidence of a series of air strikes between November 11 and November 29 that killed up to 115 civilians, including 14 children.

Amnesty said the "unlawful" killings violated international humanitarian law and some of the attacks could amount to war crimes. Amnesty said the air strikes included attacks on a mosque and a busy market "crammed full of civilians", as well as some buildings not being used for military purposes.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has always denied the highly-controversial use of barrel-bombs by his forces, despite overwhelming evidence suggesting they are dropped on rebel-held areas.

He also denied using chlorine gas as part of a chemical weapons attack against his own people, claiming the substance was more likely to be found in households than within the military.

Syria's suspected chemical weapon attack in Syria almost led Britain to war in 2013.

The strikes in Syria hit targets near al Haskah and Kobani, it said in a statement.

In Iraq, the United States and allies carried out 12 strikes, including five near Fallujah and two near Mosul, it added.

The strikes were conducted during a 24-hour period on Monday and yesterday. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent