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'Poison gas dropped on Syrian town where Russian helicopter was downed'

A Syrian rescue service which operates in opposition held areas said on Tuesday that a helicopter dropped containers of poison gas overnight on a town close to where a Russian military helicopter was shot down hours earlier. A spokesman for Syria Civil Defence, which describes itself as a neutral group of search and rescue volunteers, told Reuters that 33 people, mostly women and children, were affected by the gas, which they suspect was chlorine, in Saraqeb, a town in opposition-held Idlib province.

The group posted a video on YouTube apparently showing a number of men struggling to breathe and being given oxygen masks by people in civil defence uniforms. "Medium-sized barrels fell containing toxic gases," said a spokesman. "The Syrian Civil Defence was not able to determine the type of the gas."

It was not possible to get an official comment from the Syrian government or its Russian allies about the claims.

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