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70 including members of same families gassed to death in Syria's Douma

Sunday April 8, 2018 12:02 PM, & Agencies

Douma Gas Attack[The White Helmets, a group of rescuers operating in opposition-held areas in Syria, said that most of the fatalities were women and children. (Image: The White Helemts/Twitter)]

Damascus (Syria): A chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held stronghold near Syria's capital, Damascus, has killed at least 70 people and affected hundreds including members of same families, The White Helmets said early on Sunday.

In a message posted by The White Helmets on Twitter said entire families in shelters gassed to death in Douma, East Ghouta hiding in their cellars, suffocated from the poisonous gas bringing the initial death toll to more than 40. Syria Civil Defense is still in the process of rescue and recovery. The message is tagged by horrific pictures of women and children who were gassed to death in the deadly attack.

“More families were found suffocated in their houses and shelters in Douma. The number of victıms is increasing dramatically, and the ambulance teams and the Syria Civil Defense volunteers continue their search and rescue operations”, The White Helmets said in another tweet.

The White Helmets, a group of rescuers operating in opposition-held areas in Syria, said that most of the fatalities were women and children. "Seventy people suffocated to death and hundreds are still suffocating," Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets, told Al Jazeera, adding that the death toll was expected to rise as many people were in critical condition.

Al-Saleh said that chlorine gas, as well as an unidentified but stronger gas, were dropped on Douma. "White Helmet volunteers are trying to help the people but all what we can do is evacuate them to another areas by foot because most of the vehicles and centres went out of service."

Medical relief organization Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said a chlorine bomb hit Douma hospital, killing six people, and a second attack with “mixed agents” including nerve agents had hit a nearby building.

Basel Termanini, the U.S.-based vice president of SAMS, told Reuters the total death toll in the chemical attacks was 35. “We are contacting the U.N. and the U.S. government and the European governments,” he said by telephone.

The US State Department said on Saturday reports of mass casualties from an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma were “horrifying” and would, if confirmed, “demand an immediate response by the international community”.

However, Syrian state media denied government forces had launched any chemical attack as soon as the reports began circulating and said rebels in the eastern Ghouta town of Douma were in a state of collapse and spreading false news.

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