Al Arabiya late Tuesday conveyed reports from Syrian opposition groups accusing the Bashar al-Assad regime of having launched a chemical weapons (CW) attack against rebel-heavy areas the day before, which the groups indicated had left more than 130 people in need of medical attention:
The Hama Media Center said the victims of the attack in Kfar Zeita were all showing extreme difficulties breathing, including 21 children who were in critical condition.
Activists allege regime helicopters have frequently dropped chlorine gas canisters on Kfar Zeita.
Several videos posted on the Internet showed men and children being treated in a field hospital.
In one video a girl clasped her chest with both hands as she struggled to control her coughing.
In another, a young man is lying down with locals and medical rushing to treat him.
Al Arabiya was careful to note that the authenticity of the videos could not be verified.
The reports nonetheless come at a time when Western analysts have openly concluded – and Western diplomats have all but openly agreed – that the regime has made a strategic decision to deploy weapons proscribed by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in areas where it has had difficulty dislodging opposition groups.
The White House has been criticized by conservative critics and others – and that criticism became more pitched at the end of last week – for failing to signal U.S. intentions should it be established that Assad has again deliberately deployed CWs, after Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that “raw data” indicated that exactly that scenario was unfolding.
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