Children Breathless and Barely Conscious Following Alleged Chemical Attack in Idlib

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (April 4, 2017) — Save the Children is appalled by what appears to be a series of chemical attacks today in Idlib, Syria, which have had devastating and deadly consequences for children and families.

Medics in the area told Save the Children nearly a third of the casualties they have seen are children, who are arriving at hospitals pale and unconscious or struggling to breathe after rockets were dropped.

A Save the Children health clinic in nearby Maret al Numaan received three victims of the attack and transported them by ambulance to the hospital, but staff warn that health facilities are overwhelmed and ongoing bombing is making roads treacherous.

Another rocket releasing an as yet undetermined chemical substance was allegedly dropped in the same area at lunchtime today and many families are said to have fled north, desperate to escape more attacks.

"Doctors at a health clinic run by our partner told us they received three children under six years old today," said Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Syria Director. "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 demanded by the UN Security Council Resolution reached in September 2013."

"Idlib is home to roughly 2 million people, including many people who were displaced by the conflict in neighboring Aleppo and other areas," Khush continued. "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 just a few months ago."

Save the Children is calling for an immediate impartial investigation into this attack and an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss next steps. There must be justice and accountability for the victims.

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