Alleged Chemical Attack, August 10, 2016

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August 10, 2016 (or, by some sources August 11): four civilians were reportedly killed by chlorine dropped in or "alongside" barrel bombs, on "the Zubdiya neighborhood of rebel-held Aleppo." Also, "The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said helicopters dropped explosive barrels on the neighborhoods of Seif al Dawla and Zubdiya, leading to the death of a woman and her child from suffocation."


  • Zubdiya area on Wikimapia as Zebdiyyeh - part of the Al-Ansari Mashhad district - north of Sukkari district, west of Bustan al-Qasr.
  • Seif al Dawla is just to its west (Wikimapia).

According to Peto Lucem's August 1 Aleppo situation map, Zubdiya is a front-line rebel-held district, while Seif al-Dawla was mostly a contested front-line district (middle of map). (August 20 map shows about the same, but clearer (top of map, in the middle)

Patients were taken to an "Al Quds hospital in Aleppo" with a manager named Hamza Khatib. If this is the same Al-Quds ACLOS has looked into, it's not in this district, but a ways south in Sukkari neighborhood, about one kilometer from the middle of Zubdiya (Wikimapia). This might be a more capable facility than anything nearby, but also is known for allegedly being reduced to rubble by a barrel bomb attack in April, and would host more chlorine attack victims in September. It might simply be best-known for its robust 'public relations department.'

Incident Details


Most reports say 4, but none gives details for more than 3. Most say a woman and her two sons. The VDC lists 3 killed - a woman and 2 boys from Zebdieh, all unidentified - woman's notes: She and her two children as a result of bombing an explosive barrel containing chlorine gas.

Al-Jazeera's report suggests who the 4th was: "One woman suffocated to death due to gas inhalation, along with her 10-year-old daughter and four-year-old son." So all told, it should be the woman, two sons, and a daughter. All of them seem to be unidentified by all sources. The two given ages (4 and 10) could be from withheld knowledge, or just visual guesses.

Or, it's a woman and two children, a son and a daughter, and someone else. On Twitter, people knew who they were, more or less:

These disagree slightly on the boy's name, still don't give the family name, nor any picture or name for the mother, nor for the reported 4th victim. Further, the ages seem incorrect: Al-Jazeera heard Sama was 10 and the boy was 4, but the boy appears much older. In this photo, the boy is clearly the big brother.

Clinical Signs

These feature little eye irritation, little to no skin irritation, and only faint cyanosis. Mucous production and/or yellowish vomit are profuse, however (mostly washed off), which is a strong indicator of serious chlorine exposure. The degree of blood loss is unclear at this point (the boy was washed before the first photo, and then in the second one, after death, he's oozing more mucous from inside). A variety of substances may cause this.

In a later report (9-28), Human Rights Watch said of this incident:

“...the children were unconscious and unresponsive. Their mother was shivering, coughing, and wheezing. She barely could breathe and was drooling heavily from her mouth. Their clothes were covered in a wet substance with a sharp smell, like chlorine.”

As they heard it, all four died within a five minute span. The unresponsive children are a familiar feature, not of normal chlorine poisoning, but of whatever killed the child victims of an alleged chlorine attack in Idlib province 17 months earlier (a drug overdose with a CNS depressant is one consistent and logical explanation).




Hamza Khatib, the manager of Al Quds hospital in Aleppo, told a Reuters photographer the hospital had recorded four deaths from gas poisoning and 55 injuries. Seven people were still receiving hospital treatment.
Khatib said he was preserving pieces of patients clothing and fragments from the barrel bombs as evidence for analysis.
Exclusive BBC footage shows the aftermath of an apparent chlorine attack in Aleppo, Syria, coming hours after the UN urged a ceasefire to allow aid into the battered city. Some may find these images distressing.
The opening scene shows a boy taking his T-shirt off at the entrance, then remembering to cough as he walks into the emergency room. None of the victims look cyanosed. No eye or skin irritation is noticeable.
"At about 7:30pm on Wednesday, an explosive barrel was dropped from a helicopter on the Zubdiya neighbourhood. One woman suffocated to death due to gas inhalation, along with her 10-year-old daughter and four-year-old son," Khaled Khaled, an Aleppo-based member of the rescue group, told Al Jazeera.
Khaled Harah, a first responder, says a government helicopter dropped four barrel bombs on Wednesday night on the neighborhood of Zabadieh and that one of them released chlorine gas. The report, which was posted online on Thursday, could not be independently verified and it was not clear how it was determined that chlorine gas was released.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group that tracks the civil war in Syria, also reported that government barrel bombs struck the neighborhood. It had reports of two killed and several people suffering breathing difficulties. The Observatory made no mention of chlorine gas.
Washington, DC - Yesterday, the Aleppo Health Directorate confirmed a chemical attack on the Zabadiya neighborhood in eastern Aleppo City. Two children and their mother were killed in the attack. Initial reports recorded roughly 50 cases of victims exhibiting symptoms that have led physicians to believe a choking agent, such as chlorine, was used. The chemical agent was reportedly delivered by helicopter in a barrel bomb. This attack follows at least 58 other chlorine attacks after the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2209 in March 2015, which condemned the use of chlorine gas as a weapon in Syria.
Sama, Mohammad, and their mother were the three victims killed in the attack. The three died of suffocation from chemical agents. A video online from shows the death of Mohammad after failed resuscitation.


(citing Al A'an video (translated from Arabic))

Hamza Al-Khatib who is the manager of Al-quds hospital said in an interview in the Al-An video: “We’ve mainly noticed breathing symptoms, cough, tears in the eyes
It was clear that poisoned gas was used. The smell of the victim’s clothes were very clear, it even affected the team at the hospital.” (1:28, Hamza Khatib shown and named)

Considers more videos, seems to have no clue about how chlorine works or what to look for - geolocates an attack scene, shows some alleged bomb remnants, partly names the victims, etc.