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Disaster in Douma - Charity says signs of chemical attack clear on the ground

Disaster in Douma - Charity says signs of chemical attack clear on the ground
By Robert Hackwill
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Save the Children calls for inspectors to verify if chemical weapons were used in deadly attack in Damascus' eastern suburb.


With the Russian military saying they have interviewed medical workers in Douma who say they have seen no evidence of a chemical attack, and calling claims chemical weapons have been used in eastern Ghouta by their Syrian allies a "provocation", who to believe with the claims and counter-claims?

The charity Save the Children has had workers on the gorund for years in Syria, in Douma and elsewhere. If anyone should know, they should.

Caroline Anning is the charity's Advocacy and Communications manager in Syria.

"Certainly the symptoms that they're reporting that they've seen are consistent with a possible chemical weapons attack, so, people foaming at the mouth, constricted pupils, convulsions, so it's certainly very possible, but the reality is that until independent inspectors can go in, and we know that inspectors are there in Damascus, just a few kilometres away from Douma, go in and assess this properly we won't know for sure, so that's why we're calling for that access to be opened up, so the UN and inspectors can go in and actually tell us for sure."

Save the Children has sometimes been targeted itself when working out of clearly-marked schools or hospitals, supposedly safe havens that in this war have become anything but.

"It's become almost normal for schools and hospitals to be bombed in Syria. I think just yesterday a school that we're affilliated with was bombed again. To say how or why this happens, I don't think there's any rationale to it. Sometimes it's because people are just not taking enough care to protect these facilities, sometimes it's because the parties in the conflict, and this is really all parties, want to inflict the maximum damage possible on the other side, or on the civilian population, and the reality is no-one is holding them to accout for that, so they are operating with impunity," she adds.

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