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World Health Organization calls for immediate access to victims of attack in Syria

SYRIA (OBSERVATORY) –┬áThe World Health Organization (WHO) called on Wednesday for immediate access to the victims of an attack on the Syrian city of Duma, suspected of being used by chemical weapons, expressing dissatisfaction with the attack, which resulted in symptoms identical to those resulting from exposure to toxic substances.

“These shocking reports and pictures from Douma should all anger us,” said Peter Salama, executive director of FAO’s emergency program, referring to the city in the eastern Ghouta where Saturday’s attack took place.

He added that the organization “calls for immediate and unimpeded access to the region to provide care for the injured and to assess the health implications and respond to the requirements of public health in a comprehensive manner.”

According to information previously published by local health organizations, the UN said that “an estimated 500 patients were brought to health facilities where they had symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals.”

“There were signs of severe sensitivity in the mucous membranes, respiratory failure and central nervous system disorder” of the victims, the statement added.

The United States, Britain and France insisted that the incident bore the hallmarks of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and war crimes investigators backed by the United Nations have accused the Assad regime of launching such earlier attacks.

WHO has delivered drugs capable of treating certain types of chemicals to local clinics through a series of humanitarian convoys that have been deployed across the country in recent years.

UN officials have also accused Assad’s forces of removing these treatments from vehicles carrying relief items.