Chlorine Gas Attack on Syrian Civilians Moves UN Security Council to Tears

Mohamad Zeen/AFP
Mohamad Zeen/AFP

Members of the UN Security Council watched videos of doctors who could not save children after a chlorine gas attack in Syria. The footage was so disturbing, members of the council reportedly broke down in tears.

The children in the video footage were one-, two-, and three-year-olds. Footage showed the children as “pale and covered in sweat, with dark circles around their eyes and a clear liquid coming out of their noses and mouths.” The gas also killed their parents and grandparents. Videos also showed young children coughing and crying in the background, while adults placed gas masks over their faces.

“This is the first time we’ve experienced a poison gas attack,” said paramedic Motea Jalal. “We grabbed the masks we had. They are for fires, not for gas attacks, but that’s what is available.”

The attack occurred in Sarmin village, which is around 200 miles northwest of Damascus. The Syrian Army claims they did not launch the gas attack against the civilians. Doctors reported the gas “emitted from the barrel bombs.”

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, said there was not a dry eye in the room. The U.S., UK, and France condemned the attack and pointed the finger at Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, since the witnesses claimed they all heard helicopters above the village.

“We need an attribution mechanism so we know precisely who carried out these attacks,” exclaimed Power. “All the evidence shows that they come from helicopters — only the Assad regime has helicopters. Those people responsible for these attacks have to be held accountable.”

After the helicopters, villagers heard “a thud and an overpowering smell of bleach.” That is when civilians rushed to the hospital. The attack left six dead and 206 injured.

“Some of them were crying,” Zaher Sahloul, President of the Syrian American Medical Society, told the BBC. “Clearly they were affected by what they have seen in the videos and what they have heard, many of them spoke outside the diplomatic language and many of them have said that this is outrageous and the perpetrators should be brought to justice. Many of them suggested that the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] should have a prompt and serious investigation.”


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