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Six killed in alleged gas attack in Syria

Activists say Syrian government forces have dropped barrel bombs containing chlorine gas on a village southwest of Aleppo, killing six. The government is accused of carrying out a similar attack in April.

Six people were killed in an alleged chlorine gas attack carried out by Syrian government forces in the village of Sarmin, southwest of the city of Aleppo, a monitoring group announced Tuesday.

"Three children, their mother and father, and their grandmother suffocated to death after regime barrel bomb attacks," the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday. Dozens more were reportedly wounded, according to the Observatory.

Sarmin's coordinating committee, an activist group, posted video apparently filmed inside a field hospital in the village showing dead bodies and young children suffering from what appeared to be suffocation. Rescue workers were said to have been targeted in a follow-up attack.

"In the second round, civil defense volunteers were trying to protect the civilians by splashing water on them. But this is when they started suffocating," activist Ibrahim al-Idlibi told the news agency AFP.

Activists accused the government of a similar attack in April, when regime forces allegedly dropped barrel bombs containing chlorine gas on three villages in the neighboring province of Hama.

The UN watchdog group, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigated those claims and found compelling evidence that gas was indeed used.

The OPCW is currently overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons following a 2013 Security Council resolution passed after hundreds were killed in a chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus in 2013.

The Syrian government has repeatedly denied accusations it has used chemical weapons against its own population during a four-year civil war.

bw/rc (AFP, dpa)

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