The official Syrian news agency (SANA) has accused what it called “terrorists” of firing a missile with a chemical warhead at the town of Khan Al-Assal in Aleppo. The explosion killed 16 people and wounded 86; most are in a serious condition. Other sources claimed that more than 25 had been killed in the initial attack, while the opposition groups accused Assad’s regime of firing the rocket. Activists aired footage of what they said were people injured by chemical weapons used by the regime against the town of Otaiba, pointing out the similarities with the latest crop of wounds.
Syria’s Information Minister, Imran Zoubi, said that Turkey and Qatar bear legal, political and moral responsibility for the attack. A Turkish government official rejected the accusation.
Speaking on behalf of the Syrian Revolution Council, Abu Firas al-Halabi denied any use of chemical weapons by the Free Syrian Army. He pointed out that the regime in Damascus tries to provide cover for its future plans by using these weapons.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said that the use of chemical weapons by the “opposition” is a dangerous precedent that takes the armed confrontation in Syria to “a new level”. Bashar Al-Assad’s main ally called on “all parties” to renounce violence and “take realistic steps towards a political solution through negotiations”.
In London, Britain’s Foreign Office insisted that the use of chemical weapons in Syria “requires a serious response from the international community”.