For Immediate Release
August 23, 2015
Washington, DC – More than 50 shells fell on civilian areas in Mare’e, northern Aleppoon Friday. Following these attacks, a SAMS field hospital in Mare’e received numerous patients with shrapnel wounds and more than 23 civilians exhibiting symptoms of chemical exposure. Initial symptoms included respiratory irritation, wheezing, coughing, vomiting, irritation and redness of the eyes and mucous membranes, skin irritation, and severe itching. The 23 civilians who suffered from exposure displayed skin blisters and lesions, with doctors identifying the agent to be mustard gas. Patients were treated with dressings for skin lesions, bronchodilators, antidotes, and oxygen. No deaths have been reported from exposure as of yet. Samples have been taken from patient blood, clothing, and hair as well from the shelling site to be assessed. Mare’e is on the frontline of fighting between ISIS and non-state armed groups, and the SAMS-supported hospital in Mare’e has witnessed increased levels of civilian injuries and mass displacement in recent months.
Perpetrators of the attack have not been confirmed, but local sources suspect ISIS forces of conducting the attack. ISIS has also been accused of using mustard gas in recent attacks in northern Syria and Iraq. The targeting of civilians and the use of mustard gas are flagrant violations of international humanitarian law as per the Geneva Convention and Chemical Weapons Convention. SAMS demands the protection of civilians throughout Syria from aerial attacks, barrel bombs, and chemical weapons by all means necessary, including no-bombing zones.
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For media inquiries, please contact SAMS’s Advocacy & Communications Manager, Kat Fallon, at [email protected].