THE BURDEN OF DAMASCUS
Syria conflict: ‘Chemical attack’ in Idlib kills dozens
April 4, 2017 — BBC News reports: “At least 58 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a suspected chemical attack on a rebel-held town in north-western Syria, a monitoring group says.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that strikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian jets had caused many people to choke.
Local opposition activists and news sites posted photos of those they said had died of asphyxiation.
The Syrian government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons.
If confirmed, it would be one of the deadliest chemical attacks in Syria since the civil war began six years ago…” (There have been nearly 400,000 lives lost in this six-year civil war, with more civilians being killed than fighters. UNICEF just recently declared that 2016 was the deadliest year for children in the Syrian war – with at least 652 children dying last year. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has carried out numerous inhumane tactics such as chemical weapons, and barrel bombs (nearly 13,000 in 2016 alone), both classified as weapons of terror. President al-Assad had better beware – there is a prophecy in Isaiah that has yet to be fulfilled: “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” – Isaiah 17:1. Damascus is widely believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, but God’s Word declares that will end. See the next three reports.)
UN: Chemical weapons attack victims show signs of nerve agent
April 6, 2017 — Israel National News reports: “A number of victims of a chemical weapons attack in Syria have symptoms consistent with exposure to a category of chemicals that includes nerve agents, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
The UN health agency said the deadly attack in Idlib province Tuesday appeared to have involved chemical weapons, pointing to the ‘apparent lack of external injuries reported in cases showing a rapid onset of similar symptoms, including acute respiratory distress as the main cause of death.’
‘Some cases appear to show additional signs consistent with exposure to organophosphorus chemicals, a category of chemicals that includes nerve agents,’ it said.
At least 72 civilians, among them 20 children, were killed in Tuesday’s attack in rebel-held Khan Sheikhoun, and dozens more were left gasping for air, convulsing, and foaming at the mouth, doctors said.
Washington and London have pointed the finger at President Bashar Assad’s government for the attack, though the regime has denied using chemical weapons.
But WHO said there was good reason to suspect a chemical attack, noting the dozens of patients admitted to hospitals ‘suffering from breathing difficulties and suffocation.’
‘The images and reports coming from Idlib today leave me shocked, saddened and outraged,’ Peter Salama, head of WHO’s health emergencies program, said in a statement.
‘These types of weapons are banned by international law because they represent an intolerable barbarism,’ he added…”
Monitor says Syrian forces use barrel bombs despite US warning
April 11, 2017 — The Jerusalem Post reports: “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian government warplanes dropped barrel bombs on rebel-held areas of Hama province on Tuesday, a day after the United States said their use could lead to further US strikes in Syria.
A Syrian military source denied the Observatory report and said the army did not use barrel bombs – drums or cylinders packed with explosives and shrapnel that cause indiscriminate destruction on the ground.
The United States fired cruise missiles at a Syrian air base last week in response to a poison gas attack on a town in northwestern Syria which Washington says was carried out by government forces. The government denies responsibility.
The Observatory said ‘a number’ of barrel bombs had been dropped on the towns of Taybat al-Imam and Soran north of Hama city in an area where rebel groups spearheaded by jihadist factions launched a major offensive last month.
Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman said the number of barrel bombs dropped by government warplanes was relatively small. UN investigators have recorded regular use of such bombs by government forces in Syria.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday mentioned barrel bombs alongside poison gas as weapons that were causing ‘babies and children’ to suffer. ‘If you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb in to innocent people … you will see a response from this president,’ he said…”
Syria war: ‘At least 68 children among 126 killed’ in bus bombing
April 16, 2017 — BBC News reports: “At least 68 children were among 126 people killed in Saturday’s bomb attack on buses carrying evacuees from besieged Syrian towns, activists say.
A vehicle filled with explosives hit the convoy near Aleppo.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said at least 109 evacuees from government-held towns were killed, along with aid workers and rebel soldiers.
Many more were injured in the attack, the group said.
The explosion shattered buses and set cars on fire, leaving a trail of bodies, as the convoy waited in rebel territory near Aleppo.
Separately, several people, mostly children, are reported to have been injured by shelling in the capital, Damascus…”
‘Missile strikes in Syria a serious blow to US-Russia relations’
April 7, 2017 — Israel National News reports: “The Kremlin blasted US missile strikes Thursday night against a Syrian airbase which Western intelligence officials claim was used as a staging ground for the sarin gas attack outside of Idlib Tuesday which killed as many as 100 people.
Overnight, two US guided missile destroyers fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Al Shayrat airbase in Syria.
‘A total of 59 [missiles] targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars,’ said Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis.
Syrian officials claimed Friday that seven people had been killed in the attack, with another nine wounded.
In a formal statement Friday morning, the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the strikes as an ‘act of aggression’, and warned that the move damaged US-Russian relations.
‘The very presence of US troops and other countries on the territory of Syria…is a gross, obvious and unwarranted violation of international law.’
‘[This] is a clear act of aggression against a sovereign Syria. US Actions taken today further destroy the Russian-American relations.’…” (Russia is warming up for Armageddon. Soon a peace program will be contracted for the Middle East nations – Daniel 11: 21, 24. It will be a peace contract for seven years but broken after 42 months – Daniel 9:27. Russia is the nation that then says: “…I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations…” – Ezekiel 38:11, 12. See the next report.)
Assad backers Iran, Russia threaten US after missile strike
April 9, 2017 — The Times of Israel reports: “A command center jointly operated by Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and other groups supporting the Syrian regime issued a statement Sunday condemning the recent US missile strike on a Syrian airbase and threatening to respond if such attacks continue.
‘The aggression against Syria oversteps all red lines. We will react firmly to any aggression against Syria and to any infringement of red lines, whoever carries them out,’ read a statement from the Syria-based joint operations room.
‘The United States knows very well our ability to react,’ said the statement published on the website of Al-Watan, a daily newspaper close to the regime.
The threat came in response to a US strike on Thursday, ordered by US President Donald Trump, which was retaliation for a deadly chemical weapons attack Tuesday in the northern Syrian province of Idlib that left at least 86 people dead, including 27 children, and allegedly employed the nerve agent sarin…”