CAN'T BREATHE: A Syrian doctor treating a child following a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria.
CAN'T BREATHE: A Syrian doctor treating a child following a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria. Uncredited

Sarin chemical attack kills scores, injures hundreds in Syria

IMAGES that should shock and horrify the world have been released following a suspected chemical attack left at least 58 people dead, including several children, and survivors convulsing in the streets.

Fingers have already been pointed at the Syrian Government after the attack in the north-western province of Idlib left up to 500 people injured.

Activists on the ground have released horrifying footage of adults and children writhing in pain and frothing at the mouth. Desperate parents are seen making their way to get help following the attack.

In other horrifying scenes, piles of bodies can be seen lying on the ground, while a group of children lay dead with white foam surrounding their nostrils.

Those receiving medical attention are seen struggling to breathe through oxygen masks while others appear unresponsive.

A US government source told Reuters it believed the chemical agent sarin was used in the attack that was "almost certainly” carried out by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

US President Donald Trump has appeared to blame his predecessor for the reprehensible attack, claiming Barack Obama's "weakness” made it possible.

"These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution,” Mr Trump said.

"President Obama said in 2012 he would establish a 'red line' against the use of chemical weapons, and then did nothing.”

Mr Trump also said the attack against innocent people must not be "ignored by the civilised world”.

The President's message was a clear reference to Mr Obama's failure to strike in 2013 after saying a chemical attack by Assad would cross a "red line”.

However, only days ago President Trump ordered a major shift in US policy in Syria, moving the focus on to defeating Islamic State rather than overthrowing President Assad.

"You pick and choose your battles when we're looking at this ... our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out,” America's United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on the front foot yesterday though,

saying Russia and Iran, Assad's most powerful allies, bore some responsibility for the chemical attack.

He called on both countries to use their influence over Syria's dictator to prevent similar crimes in the future.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deaths and injuries occurred when Khan Sheikhoun, a rebel-held town in north- western Syria, was hit by air strikes carried out by Syrian government or Russian jets.

Warplanes launched air strikes on the city while many people were sleeping.

Both Syria's military and Russia's defence ministry have denied responsibility.

As confusion remained surrounding the exact death toll, the Aleppo Media Center claimed 70 had died while the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 58.

According to High Negotiations Committee and the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations, there have been more 170 reported chemical attacks in Syria since the UN Security Council passed resolution 2118 in September 2013, outlawing chemical weapons in Syria.



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