Elite Syrian Regime Unit Dumped Chlorine on Rebel-Held City From Helicopter

A report by a chemical weapons watchdog concluded that a helicopter controlled by Syria’s elite “Tiger Forces” military unit dropped a chlorine cylinder on the rebel-held city of Saraqib in February 2018.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that, at approximately 21:22 on 4 February 2018, during ongoing attacks against Saraqib, a military helicopter of the Syrian Arab Air Force under the control of the Tiger Forces hit eastern Saraqib by dropping at least one cylinder,” said the report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. “The cylinder ruptured and released a toxic gas, chlorine, which dispersed over a large area, affecting 12 named individuals.”

The dozen individuals who were exposed to the chemical suffered from skin irritation, chest pain, and nausea, the report noted.

Witnesses told the OPCW that on the day of the attack, “they heard a helicopter sound between 21:15 and 21:22, and one or two items falling and hitting the ground.” One person who had been staying in a nearby shelter “recounted that he went to see what had happened and started feeling sick when getting closer to the area in the direction of the origin of the sound.” Video evidence obtained by the OPCW confirmed witness accounts.

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