Last month a UN inquiry came to the conclusion that the Syrian Government had twice used the highly poisonous gas chlorine against its own people. In August there were allegations that chlorine had been used for a third time, and today there are unconfirmed reports that the potentially deadly gas has been used again, over the last two days.
Eye witnesses claim that the chlorine was contained in two barrel bombs dropped from government helicopters on the al-Sukkari part of Aleppo, an area sympathetic to forces which are opposed to the Government. Aid workers have reported that people have arrived at the surviving and makeshift health facilities with breathing problems. It is claimed that one person has died and that up to 100 are suffering as a result of breathing the gas.
The Syrian Government continues to deny all claims that it is using chemical weapons.
The claims surfaced just as forces opposed to the Government are meeting to discuss how to negotiate a solution to the civil war in Syria. The discussions will be hosted by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – a man known for his ability to open his mouth and put his foot in it rather than for any skills of tact and diplomacy. Around the table will be groups opposed to the Government and Foreign Ministers from countries which generally support Syrian opposition forces. The group will be trying to plan a scenario in which President Assad could leave Syria and opposition forces could take over governing a stable country. To date, President Assad has refused to entertain any idea that he should abandon Syria, and there is no sign that the group meeting in London today has found a way of encouraging him to do so.