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27 Children killed in chemical attack in Idlib province of Syria: UNICEF

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(Representational Image ) In this image made from video and posted online from Validated UGC, a Civil Defense worker carries a child after airstrikes hit Aleppo, Syria, April 28, 2016. VOA

United Nations, April 6, 2017: At least 27 children were killed in the chemical attack in Idlib province of Syria, the UN Children’s Fund said here on Thursday.

A further 546 people, among them many children, have been injured, the UN agency said in a press release. “Casualty figures are expected to rise.”

“The killing of children in Syria cannot be allowed to continue,” said the Unicef Regional Director, Geert Cappelaere, demanding: “All parties to the conflict and those with influence on them must immediately put an end to this horror.”

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UNICEF and partners continue to respond to the attack by supporting three mobile clinics and four hospitals to provide first aid and treatment, and nine ambulances to refer and transport patients to hospitals in the area.

UNICEF is also delivering critical medical supplies and working with health partners to raise awareness about medical response to chemical attacks, the press release added.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said he is deeply disturbed by reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in an airstrike in Idlib.

Media reports said about 70 persons were killed and 200 others were wounded Tuesday in a gas attack in a rebel-held area in southern Idlib.

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Also on Tuesday, a senior Syrian military officer denied reports of military toxic attack on rebel-held area in Idlib. The senior officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the rebels were the ones using the toxic gas against civilians to frame the Syrian army.

Earlier in the day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said warplanes carried out intensive airstrikes on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in the countryside of Idlib province, killing dozens of people, mostly civilians. (IANS)

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Syria Uses Familiar Tactic in Rebel Idlib: Bombing Civilians

The United Nations is demanding an immediate end to indiscriminate attacks against civilians

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Syria, Rebel, Idlib
FILE - Destruction is seen around the Udai hospital following airstrikes on the town of Saraqeb in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, Jan. 29, 2018. VOA

The United Nations is demanding an immediate end to indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in northwest Syria, warning the warring parties their actions might amount to war crimes.

U.N. agencies say an intense military escalation by Russian-backed Syrian forces and armed rebels in northwest Syria is having a catastrophic impact on the civilian population. Agencies confirm at least 160 civilians have been killed and hundreds more wounded in fighting over recent weeks.

They say 3 million people in Idlib need protection and 300,000 civilians who have fled their homes in the past two months are in imminent danger.

 

Spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Jens Laerke says civilians and civilian infrastructure are coming under daily attack by airstrikes, artillery shelling and barrel bombs.

Syria, Rebel, Idlib
FILE – Damage is seen at a hospital after an airstrike in Deir al-Sharqi village in Idlib province, Syria, April 27 2017. VOA

“Since the 28th of April, there have been 25 confirmed attacks on health care in the northwest, including on 24 health facilities and one ambulance,” he said. “Two of the attacked health facilities were hit more than once, and at least six health workers have been killed.”

Laerke says health care facilities are fully protected under international humanitarian law, and it is illegal to target them. Few health facilities remain intact to care for the sick and wounded, he told VOA.

“Already before the recent months of escalation, the status of health care in Syria at large, and in particular in Idlib, was already appalling,” he said. “Even though those facilities have not been hit, they fear that they may be hit. So, the doctors, the health care personnel are leaving, the patients are not going to those hospitals. Understandably.”

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Laerke says aid agencies are providing food and health services through mobile clinics to people who are newly displaced in northwest Syria. In addition, many schools in the region have been attacked, he says, so catch-up classes are being provided for thousands of children who have been out of school since May. (VOA)