Syrian village reportedly hit by poison gas attack

BY Kayla Ruble  April 12, 2014 at 2:52 PM EDT

There are reports that a gas attack hit a village in the central province of Hama on Friday, with both the Syrian government and rebel forces blaming each other for the incident.

SyriaPoisonGas

An amateur video posted online showed the scene in a hospital room in Kfar Zeita, a Syrian village where the latest gas attack reportedly took place. The video appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting of the attack. Credit: Associated Press

The country’s main western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, accused the government of carrying out the poison gas attack in the village of Kfar Zeita.

The U.K based group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also blamed the government regime for the incident. Rami Abdel Rahman who runs the anti-government information office said regime planes dropped explosive barrels on the village resulting in “thick smoke and odors,” according to the BBC.

On the other side of the civil war, Syria’s state-run television has put the blame on Nusra Front, an al-Qaida linked rebel group. The network reported that the group had released toxic chlorine causing two deaths and leaving more than “100 people to suffer from suffocation.”

The TV network also reported having information that Nusra Front was planning to launch additional attacks in another part of Hama and the northern province of Idlib. They did not give details about how they obtained this information.

None of the claims by either side have been independently verified. However, there has been video posted online by the opposition that reportedly showed victims using oxygen masks in a Kfar Zeita hospital.

According to the Associated Press, an activist currently based in Turkey and in contact with residents in Hama said the attack took place in the rebel-held village around sunset on Friday.

The Syrian National Coalition said there was another attack on Friday in Harastra, a suburb of Damascus. The group has reached out to the United Nations to initiate a “quick investigation into the developments related to the use of poisonous gas against civilians in Syria.”

This is not the first time chemical weapons have been used during the ongoing civil war in Syria that began more than three years ago.

Hundreds of people died after a chemical attack on the capital city of Damascus in August. While the U.S. and other Western governments blamed on the Syrian regime, the government has continued to deny these accusations.