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    Smoke billows from buildings during an operation by Syrian government forces to retake control of the rebel-held district of Leramun, on the northwest outskirts of Aleppo, on July 26, 2016

    Sputnik Speaks to Aleppo Locals Struck by 'Moderate Rebels' Chemical Attack

    © AFP 2019 / GEORGE OURFALIAN
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    Several poison gas shells have been fired into the old city of Aleppo, killing over a dozen residents and hospitalizing over 30 others. Sputnik Arabic was able to speak to several residents on the ground about the barbaric attack.

    Militants from the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki militant group, an Islamist group which has received US-made weapons and financial aid from the CIA, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, were reported to have fired seven shells of poison gas at a local market in the al-Awamid neighborhood of old Aleppo on Tuesday night, ostensibly in order to force the Syrian Army to stop its military operations in the city.

    A local man who became a victim of the attack spoke to Sputnik Arabic about his experience. "I was near where one of the shells had dropped. I quickly got the call to extinguish the fire in the al-Awamid market, but after arriving at the scene, another bomb dropped near the first. After a few minutes, I began to feel a shortness of breath and nausea; I was given help on the spot and then taken to the hospital – it saved my life."

    A source at a local hospital informed the news agency that people arrived to local hospitals in serious condition after inhaling toxic gas. Some of the victims died on their way to the hospital. Symptoms of the poison gas included blurred vision, vomiting and shortness of breath. The shells were suspected to contain chlorine gas.

    Dr. Mohammed Hazouri, the chairman of the city's public health service, told Sputnik that "over five people were killed by the gas and another eight died of asphyxiation (suffocation), after the area of the old city of Aleppo came under fire by these shells, fired by the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki militant group."

    A woman visits the grave of a relative in the rebel-held town of Douma, east of the capital Damascus
    © AFP 2019 / Sameer Al-Doumy
    The Syrian Army launched an attack on the locations from which the poison gas shells were fired, with Russian warplanes carrying out airstrikes against the positions held by the jihadists into the night on Tuesday.

    According to Sputnik Arabic's commentary, "the use of poisonous gas by the armed opposition which Washington classifies 'moderate' is a serious indication of the level of support which the US is providing to the armed movement engaged in acts of terrorism against civilians, using prohibited weapons."

    Earlier, the same group beheaded a 12-year-old boy captured near a refugee camp outside the city, sparking outrage around the world.

    Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, considered a moderate rebel group by some Western countries, has long been considered one of the most significant rebel factions holed up areas of eastern and northern Aleppo outside government control. International human rights groups have repeatedly charged the jihadi group of human rights violations, including the abduction and torture of journalists and humanitarian workers.  In late July, the group fired rockets into a park in west Aleppo, killing ten and injuring over 40 others.

    On Wednesday, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said that the US State Department was not aware of reports that chemical weapons had been used against civilians in Aleppo.

    The United States and its allies have been repeatedly accused of supporting jihadist Islamist groups that they consider 'moderate'. Earlier this week, video footage emerged showing a large cache of US-made weapons in a city district formerly controlled by the jihadists. The stash included US and European-made grenades and missile launchers, mortars and ammunition.

    Related:

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    US-Backed 'Moderate Rebels' Launched Toxic Gas Attack in Aleppo August 2
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    The Myth of the 'Moderate' Rebels in Syria
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    Amnesty Int'l Calls for Negotiations With Syrian Islamists Despite Crimes
    Tags:
    chemical weapons, chemical attack, interview, moderates, moderate Syrian rebels, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United States, Syria, Aleppo
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