Tuesday 4 April 2017

Save the Children is appalled by what appears to be a series of chemical attacks today in Idlib, which once again have had devastating and deadly consequences for children and families. 
Medics in Khan Sheikhoun told the charity nearly a third of the casualties they have seen are children, presenting at hospitals pale and unconscious or struggling to breathe after rockets were dropped from the air. 
A Save the Children health clinic in nearby Maret al Numaan received three cases and transported them by ambulance to hospital, but staff warn that health facilities are overwhelmed and ongoing bombing is making roads treacherous.
A further rocket releasing a currently undetermined chemical substance was alleged to have been dropped in the same area at lunchtime today and many families are said to have fled north, desperate to escape a further attack.
Save the Children is calling for an immediate impartial investigation into this attack and an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to agree next steps. There must be justice and accountability for the victims.
Sonia Khush, Save the Children's Syria Director, said:
“Doctors at a health clinic run by our partner Syria Relief told us they received three children under six years old today. They were struggling to breathe and barely conscious, with running noses and contracted pupils – doctors say these symptoms are consistent with the use of nerve agents such as Sarin. If a banned chemical substance is confirmed, this would be in clear violation of international law and a worrying indication that not all chemical weapons have been destroyed in Syria as UNSCR 2118 reached in September 2013 demanded.
“Idlib is home to some two million civilians, including many people who were displaced by the conflict in neighbouring Aleppo and other areas. Tomorrow’s meeting of Foreign Ministers and the UN Secretary General in Brussels must address the threat of ongoing assault and brutality faced by people in Idlib. We cannot allow events to escalate into the situation we saw in East Aleppo."
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