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Syria accuses rebels of exposing people to unknown liquid in Idlib


08:23, May 02, 2013

DAMASCUS, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Syria's state media said Wednesday that the rebels in the northwestern province of Idlib had used an unknown liquid to kill a number of people.

"Mounting fumes from gallons containing some liquid materials, which were stored by a shepherd in his house in Saraqeb town in Idlib countryside, have killed his guest and him as one of the children in the house opened one of the gallons," the state-run SANA news agency said.

Quoting a source in the province, SANA said that after the two people died, the housewife and her children went out to the street frightened, and an "armed terrorist group" gave them protective masks and brought three people they had previously kidnapped to the house to make them inhale the fumes.

The three people also died after inhaling the fumes, SANA said, adding that the "armed terrorist group," affiliated to the al- Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front, later transferred the bodies of the dead people to the Turkish territories to make use of the incident against the Syrian administration.

In an earlier report, SANA said an armed militia threw "unknown powder" in the face of a number of people in Idlib to accuse the army of using chemical weapons against citizens.

The victims, who have been exposed to the powder, showed symptoms of suffocation, shivering and other respiratory symptoms, according to SANA.

SANA said the "terrorists" took the injured citizens to Turkish hospitals to accuse the Syrian armed forces of using chemical weapons.

The Syrian government and the armed rebels have been trading accusations over the use of chemical weapons in the country's deadly conflict.

U.S. officials claimed that they were in possession of evidence about the small-scale use of chemical weapons in Syria. Washington said last week that intelligence indicated the Syrian military had likely used sarin, a deadly nerve agent, on at least two occasions over the past months.

Last December, Syria warned that the rebels could use chemical weapons in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad's forces, while insisting that the government would never unleash such arms on its own people.

"Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people ... after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory" in east of Aleppo, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said previously.

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