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Fresh allegations of chlorine gas attack in Syria

Syrian opposition coalition accuses Assad's government forces of carrying out alleged chlorine bomb attack in province of Idlib
Volunteers in Aleppo put on gas masks during a class on how to respond to a chemical attacks (AFP)

At least six people, including three children were killed late Monday in an alleged chlorine bomb attack carried out by Bashar al-Assad’s government forces on the northern Syrian province of Idlib, a Syrian opposition coalition said.

According to the Syrian Revolution General Commission’s statement released Tuesday, the government airstrikes targeted opposition-controlled villages of Sermin and Qminas villages. Hospitals in the area were reportedly overwhelmed with dozens of people suffering from chlorine gas.

"A family of six people, including three children chocked to death because of the toxic chlorine gas used in Syrian regime airstrikes on Sermin village Monday evening," the commission said.

The opposition coalition described the attack as "massacre" and feared the death toll may rise because of lack of adequate medical aid in the area.

Also, a video published on social networks supposedly showed victims of the attack and scores of people receiving first aid at hospitals.

The attack follows UN Security Council's recently adopted resolution on 6 March, which condemned the use of chlorine attacks in Syria.

The Syrian opposition has accused the Assad government of using chemical and toxic weapons against civilians and committing massacre since the August 2013 incident that reportedly killed more than 1,400 civilians.

However, Syrian government officials have denied the allegations, charging that the gas attacks were carried out by rebel forces.

Army raids on IS bastion killed 100 civilians: Amnesty

Meanwhile, Amnesty International said on Tuesday that the Syrian government killed more than 100 civilians in a series of "ruthless air strikes" on a bastion of the Islamic State (IS) group last year.

In a new report, the London-based human rights group said some of the strikes launched by the government in November 2014 on the city of Raqqa gave "every indication of being war crimes".

The group said the strikes carried out between 11 November and 29 killed 115 civilians, including 14 children, and hit non-military targets including a mosque, a transport hub and a busy market.

Raqqa is the self-proclaimed capital of the brutal IS group in Syria, but Amnesty said there was no indication that militant positions were the target of the series of strikes.

"Syrian government forces have shown flagrant disregard for the rules of war in these ruthless air strikes," said Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther.

"The government appears indifferent to the carnage caused by these strikes, refusing even to acknowledge civilian casualties they have caused."

Luther acknowledged that Raqqa is a stronghold of IS militants, but said their presence did not justify attacks on civilian targets.

The group repeated a call for the war in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court, saying it would "send a message to all warring parties".

It also urged an arms embargo to "stem the flow of weapons being used to commit these crimes".

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