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Dozens treated for breathing problems after raids on Syria's Ghouta

AFP  |  Syria 

Dozens of people were treated for breathing difficulties after air strikes slammed into Syria's Eastern Ghouta, a monitor said, with medics reporting symptoms consistent with a toxic attack.

The for Human Rights said at least 60 people in the besieged rebel enclave were left struggling to breathe after air strikes and barrel bombs hit the towns of and late yesterday.

Doctors at one medical facility in Eastern said they treated at least 29 patients with signs of exposure to chlorine, according to the Syrian (SAMS).

SAMS is a medical charity that supports hospitals in Eastern and other rebel-controlled zones in

It did not report any deaths but said it was likely that more victims were being treated at other clinics.

"Due to chlorine attack in #EastGhouta, patients are struggling w/symptoms such as severe dyspnea, sweating, congestion of mucus membranes, severe runny nose, & conjunctival erythema," SAMS wrote on late yesterday.

"The emotional trauma from these attacks can not be measured."

is is redness of the eye caused by dilation of the blood vessels.

AFP's in saw more than 40 people on the roof of a four-storey building late Wednesday, trying to get fresh air after strikes on their neighbourhood.

Parents had stripped their children down and were spraying them with water, fearing toxic substances had got into their clothes.

Rescue workers arrived and transported the residents off the roof to a nearby medical facility even as bombing raged around them.

"I'm going to suffocate," two children screamed repeatedly as they were carried down.

Eastern is facing a blistering offensive by Russian-backed government forces and allied militiamen, who are seeking to clear out rebels from the capital's outskirts.

Regime forces have been repeatedly accused of using chlorine on Eastern Ghouta in recent weeks, which both the government and its ally have staunchly denied.

investigators say government forces used chlorine as a weapon at least three times between 2014 and 2015, as well as in 2016.

The latest assault on Eastern Ghouta began with an intense bombing campaign on February 18, followed by a ground offensive.

Government forces have since captured more than half of the rebel-held parts of the area and killed nearly 900 civilians, according to the Britain-based Observatory.

The toll includes at least 91 people killed on Wednesday.

Air strikes continued to hit the remaining rebel-controlled parts of Ghouta today.

A convoy of humanitarian assistance expected to enter the enclave was postponed, the International Committee of the Red told AFP.

It marks the second time this week that to Eastern Ghouta have been disrupted by military developments, with cut short on Monday due to heavy bombardment.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 08 2018. 17:26 IST