More than 100 injured after gas attack in Syria

A Syrian rebel-fighter from the National Liberation Front takes position on the frontline facing government forces in the al Rashedin area west of Aleppo in northwestern Syria on Nov 20 2018

The government has responded with counter attacks on rebel-held areas in the Aleppo countryside.

A doctor said the situation of the patients was stable, noting that a child had to be taken to the intensive care unit.

The attack came after Russian Federation seemed to accuse Hayat Tahrir al Sham, an alliance led by Syria's former al Qaeda affiliate, of carrying out a chemical attack on Aleppo city.

"According to preliminary information, confirmed particularly by the victims' symptoms of poisoning, the shells that were fired at residential areas of Aleppo were filled with chlorine", defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a briefing, quoted by Russian news agencies.

The deal to create the demilitarized zone staved off an army offensive against the Idlib region, including nearby parts of Aleppo and Hama provinces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said a total of 94 people were hospitalised after "the smell of chlorine" was reported in the city, but most were discharged.

Naji Mustafa, the spokesman of National Front for Liberation, the largest umbrella military group in Idlib, said on Telegram that they rejected the claims by Assad regime, blaming the regime for covering up its massacres with such news.

Health official Haj Taha later said the number of injured was up to 50, adding that symptoms suggest the gas used was chlorine.

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On Sunday the Russian defence ministry said warplanes had launched strikes on "the identified positions of terrorist artillery in the area that shelled civilians in the city of Aleppo" the previous evening. The statement said the two exchanged views on "recent provocations that have been evaluated as aimed to undermine the Sochi agreement may continue and the need to be ready".

Syrian state media and a Syrian watchdog say about 100 people in Aleppo have been hospitalized, complaining of breathing difficulties. There are no deaths, al-Shali said.

A cease-fire in Aleppo and Idlib has been fraying in recent days. Yet, leaders of rebel forces in Syria condemned the chemical attack and denied accusations of responsibility.

On September 17, Turkey and Russian Federation inked the Sochi agreement; however, 37 civilians have been killed by the regime and ally attacks in Idlib de-escalation zone since then whereas scores of civilians were left injured. The US launched a series of strikes on Syrian government sites in retaliation for the attack in Khan Sheikhoun.

In the absence of independent monitors, it is hard to corroborate gas attacks.

Western countries and the United Nations have accused government forces of using chemical and nerve agents on numerous occasions since the start of the civil war.

However, shelling from the regime and the rebels has killed and injured dozens of civilians and militants, according to the Observatory.

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