Forces loyal to Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad have reportedly carried out a chemical attack on the Western Ghouta suburb on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, killing 10 people.
According to Anadolu Agency, poisonous gas was dropped from the sky on Tuesday as regime helicopters were barrel bombing armed opposition groups in the Moadamiyet al Sham town, 10 kilometres southwest of Damascus.
Field hospital staff told Anadolu Agency reporters that the attack also left 30 people in need of treatment for the effects of the gas.
Symptoms included people suffering from blurred vision, shortness of breath, vomiting and dizziness, hospital staff said, adding that some cases were serious.
Local activists posted a number of videos and pictures of victims of the attack on social media.
— سيف السودان (@SaqrQaaiiid) December 23, 2015
مؤثر جدا أم تودع ابنها الشهيد في معضمية الشام بريف دمشق الذي قتله السلاح الكيماوي الم يسمع العالم صرخات الامهات ! pic.twitter.com/d7IZVogP4Z
— ابو الهدى الحمصي (@aboalhodaalhoms) December 22, 2015
Moadamiyet al Sham was previously targeted with a sarin gas attack allegedly carried out by the Assad regime in August 2013, which left as much as 1,729 people dead, and has been under siege for two years.
The attack almost prompted a military intervention against the Assad regime by US forces, but this was narrowly avoided when Assad agreed to cooperate with international monitors by surrendering his chemical arsenal.
Despite this, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has recorded a number of chemical attacks reportedly carried out in Syria since the 2013 incidents, with both the Assad regime and the DAESH terrorist group being blamed for using toxic agents, including mustard gas and chlorine.
In September, the UN Security Council announced it would launch an investigation into the 2013 incident after member state Russia lifted its objections to the probe.
UN estimates suggest that at least 250,000 people have been killed since the war began in Syria in March 2011, and that half of the country’s population has been displaced both internally and externally.