WHO “alarmed” by chemical weapons attack in Syria

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Based on the symptoms of the victims, it is now believed that the chemical used was sarin gas.

In the wake of the chemical attack in Syria earlier this week, the Executive Director of the World Health Organization Health Emergencies Programme has described the use of chemical weapons as “intolerable barbarism”.
In a statement , the WHO said it was “alarmed” by the attack, which took place in Syria’s northwestern Idleb province on Tuesday. The organisation said information provided by Health Cluster partners on the ground, suggest at least 70 people have died and hundreds more have been affected. Based on the symptoms, it is believed that the chemical used was sarin gas.

“The images and reports coming from Idleb…leave me shocked, saddened and outraged. These types of weapons are banned by international law because they represent an intolerable barbarism,” said Dr Peter Salama, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

In 2016, the WHO trained 200 clinicians on the management of victims of chemical weapons. An additional 65 doctors in northern Syrian were also trained, the majority being from Idleb. However, the WHO says, given the numbers of patients requiring treatment, the availability of trained staff is insufficient.

WHO experts in Turkey are communicating with health workers in Idleb to provide around-the-clock guidance on diagnosis and appropriate treatment of patients.

 

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