The April 4, 2017 is the latest in what has become a series of gas attacks in Syria every few days, says a critical care doctor.

The April 4, 2017 is the latest in what has become a series of gas attacks in Syria every few days, says a critical care doctor.
Photo Credit: IHA via AP

Gas attacks in Syria called ‘the new normal’

Share

There has been an increasing number of gas attacks in Syria and the world must stop what has become ‘a new normal,’ according to a coalition of humanitarian groups. The founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria says medical personnel are still struggling to cope with April 4th attack in northern Syria which has claimed 86 lives so far including 28 children.

Listen
Syrian medical personnel and facilities are overwhelmed by the latest gas attack.
Syrian medical personnel and facilities are overwhelmed by the latest gas attack. © IHA via AP

A critical care specialist himself, Dr. Zaher Sahloul says no country is prepared for large-scale gas attacks. But matters were made worse when a day before this attack, a nearby hospital was bombed by what he says were Syrian and Russian jets.

‘Plans to…cause as many victims and deaths as possible’

“So it looks like…there were plans not only to attack with chemical weapons but also to cause as many victims and deaths as possible by taking hospitals out of service.”

Syria denies having orchestrated the April 4th chemical attack. During this conflict, dozens of hospitals have been bombed, some of them repeatedly by Russian or Syrian jets.

: A hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders was bombed in August 2016 killing 13 people including four staff and five children. Dozens of hospitals have been hit, some of them repeatedly.
: A hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders was bombed in August 2016 killing 13 people including four staff and five children. Dozens of hospitals have been hit, some of them repeatedly. © Ammar Abdullah/Reuters

‘The worst way to die’

From his office in Chicago, Sahloul has had reports that this latest attack has left hospital and medical personnel in Idlib stretched to the limit. There is a need for life support equipment, ventilators, and antidotes, and there is the danger of gas contamination for the hospital and medical workers themselves. They need protective clothing which is in short supply.

And then there is the horror. “This nerve gas agent will make you stop breathing while you are awake and alert. This is the worst way to die,” says Sahloul. “People who survive these attacks have terrible emotional and psychiatric trauma for the rest of their lives.” And it’s not yet known what will be the long-term physical consequences of gas poisoning of this kind.

Gas attacks said to occur ‘every few days’

A report by the Syrian American Medical Society is called A New Normal: Ongoing Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria. It documents 161 gas attacks from the beginning of the Syrian conflict up to 2015. Three-quarters of them occurred after the UN passed a resolution ordering Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons. At least 1,491 people are said to have died and another 14,581 injured.

The report says that subsequently there have been many chemical attacks including eight in Aleppo which have received less international attention because fewer people have been killed and injured. Sahloul says chemical attacks now occur every few days.

A crime against humanity

“This should not be accepted because using chemical agents, even in a war, is prohibited, it’s illegal, it’s a crime against humanity and it should be rejected by everyone.”

Share
Categories: International, Politics, Society
Tags: , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*