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Conflicting reports about alleged chemical attack in Syria

Conflicting reports have emerged about an alleged chlorine attack by the Syrian government on a rebel area at the weekend.

Beirut, 22 May 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Conflicting reports have emerged about an alleged chlorine attack by the Syrian government on a rebel area at the weekend.

On Tuesday, the United States warned the Syrian government against using chemicals and vowed to “respond quickly and appropriately” if such an attack is proven

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, denied on Wednesday that the Syrian forces had used chlorine in an attack on a rebel mountainous area in north-western Syria.

“We have no evidence of such an attack,” observatory head Rami Abdel-Rahman said.

He told dpa that the attack allegations were made by the al-Qaeda- affiliated Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which mainly controls the north-western province of Idlib.

HTS’s Ebaa News agency claimed that al-Assad’s forces had on Sunday shelled the area of al-Kabeneh Hill with chlorine, and said none of its fighters were hurt in the attack.

A spokesman for the rescue group White Helmets, which only works in rebel areas, said there was no confirmation of the pruported chlorine attack.

He added that the group had no teams in the al-Kabeneh Hill, which is a military zone.

Both the observatory and the White Helmets had previously reported and documented the use of chemical weapons by government forces against rebel areas.

However, the Idlib Health Directorarte, based in the rebel-held province, said one of its hospitals received four people with injuries resulting from exposure to a toxic gas on Sunday.

“During the treatment, medical staff reported a smell that is very similar to the smell of cholrine,” the agency said in a statement.

Damascus has denied the accusation.

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