Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have repeatedly used chemical weapons against rebel fighters in Damascus, according to first-hand accounts in France’s Le Monde newspaper.
The newspaper, in a report issued on its website on Monday, said one of its photographers had suffered blurred vision and respiratory difficulties for four days after an attack on April 13 on the Jobar front, just inside central Damascus.
They describe men coughing violently, their eyes burning, their pupils shrinking.
“Soon they experience difficulty breathing, sometimes in the extreme; they begin to vomit or lose consciousness. The fighters worst affected need to be evacuated before they suffocate,” Le Monde wrote.
“Reporters from Le Monde witnessed this on several days in a row in this district, on the outskirts of Damascus, which the rebels entered in January,” it said.
The war has developed into an increasingly sectarian conflict pitting members of Assad’s minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, against mostly Sunni Muslim rebels. More than 80,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Full article: France’s Le Monde says chemical weapons used in Syria (Reuters)
L’article original en français: Guerre chimique en Syrie (Le Monde)