Syrian doctor closest to attack: ‘90 percent chance this was sarin’

A doctor who operates the clinic closest to the site of a chemical weapon attack in Syria told Yahoo News he personally treated “delirious” victims who were “foaming at the mouth,” gasping for air and suffering muscle spasms, symptoms he said are consistent with sarin nerve gas poisoning.

The doctor, Dr. Mohammed Mansour, sent Yahoo News a video from his clinic showing rows of young children lined up under blankets, their faces and eyes frozen, apparently unable to speak or move.

“Based on my medical expertise, there is a 90 percent chance this was sarin gas used against these civilians,” said Dr. Mohammed Mansour in a Skype interview from Idlib province, where he runs a clinic that he said is a 15-minute drive from where the attack occurred. “We had over 25 people brought to our clinic who died instantaneously. Many of the others were delirious and unable to communicate.”

A screengrab from the video supplied by Dr. Mohammed Mansour of children in his clinic in Idlib.
A screengrab from the video supplied by Dr. Mohammed Mansour of children in his clinic in Idlib.

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“I personally treated over 100 people, from 7:30 in the morning to 9:30 at night,” he added. He said that “70 to 80 percent of the victims were women and children.”

Those who were able to talk said most were still at home, some of them asleep, at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday when the sounds of aircraft approaching and bombs falling were heard, Mansour said. “This was a heavily civilian area,” he said. “There is not a conceivable military target in that area.”

“We are in a very dire situation,” he said. “We have a tiny clinic — literally not even a few rooms. We were able to give [the victims] oxygen and other ways of support. But we do not have anything that they actually need. We have sent [the survivors] to Turkish hospitals.”

The area of the northern province Idlib where the strike occurred is controlled by rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Over the past ten days, as rebel attacks have increased, the Syrian government strikes in Idlib and Hama provinces have ramped up — and there have been other chemical attacks, although much smaller than today’s, he said. “For the last 10 days, it has been some of the most intense bombardment we’ve seen, including smaller chemical attacks,” the doctor reported. Asked why he believes the Syrian army would have used chemical weapons on such a scale now, Mansour said: “Maybe he is feeling the pressure of the armed opposition.”


(Cover thumbnail photo: Sadduldin Zaidan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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