Several Syrian activist groups Saturday reported that a brutal attack on the remnants of the rebel-held city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta left dozens of civilians dead and scores wounded.
The groups — including the White Helmets, the Douma Coordination Committee and the Ghouta Media Center — said toxic gas inside barrel bombs dropped by helicopters over Douma caused people to suffocate and choke.
Syrian state news agency SANA cited an “official source” who denied the allegations, saying the reports were a “blatant attempt to hinder the army’s advance” into what the news agency described as a “collapsing terrorist” stronghold.
SANA, citing the same sources, wrote that the Syrian Arab Army “does not need to use any chemical materials as claimed by terrorists’ media affiliates.”
Graphic images showed people, including children, apparently dead and injured — some with some kind of spittle or foam in their mouths in makeshift medical centers.
An official with the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) told CNN that doctors in eastern Ghouta have told him they were seeing patients who were convulsing from side to side and some appeared to be paralyzed and unresponsive.
Many of the people had been staying in underground shelters.