On Saturday, April 7th, at least 40 people were killed in a chemical attack in Duoma, Syria. Two bombs allegedly containing toxic substances were dropped, causing over 500 residents to seek medical aid for chemical-related injuries and symptoms. Those symptoms included “respiratory distress, central cyanosis (blue skin or lips) excessive oral foaming, corneal burns, and the emission of chlorine-like odour,” according to the Syria Civil Defence and Syrian American Medical Society.
The suburb of Damascus, Syria was one of the last remaining rebel-held towns in the area, leading other countries, including the U.S., UK and France, to conclude that it was a deliberate chemical attack planned by the Syrian government. As Syrian opposition aid (also known as the “White Helmets”) carried out medical help in the area, the Army of Islam rebel group that had populated the area agreed to move their supporters to Northern Syria to join the rest of the rebellion fighters.
“People now are going out in the streets looking for their loved ones in the rubble,” Haitham Bakkar, an opposition activist in Duoma told the Associated Press. “And we don’t have any space left to bury them.”
The attack received international attention. U.S. president Donald Trump called the attack a “humanitarian disaster,” tweeting blame to Russian president Vladimir Putin and Iran for their political and military backing of “Animal Assad.” Trump called for missile strikes on Syria to stop attacks on innocent citizens.
Russia denies supporting the attack, and has sent more troops to the area, claiming they will offer medical support.
Zoe Licata (Cambridge, Massachusetts)