At least 42 people were killed in a chemical attack in Syria on Saturday. The attacks in Douma, a city near Damascus and the last rebel holdout in Eastern Ghouta, were reportedly ordered by Syrian government forces, attempting to recapture rebel strongholds near the capital.
This is the latest string of attacks in Eastern Ghouta, an area in Syria that has been subject to chlorine and sarin gas attacks in the past. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched an offensive targeting rebel groups in Eastern Ghouta in February. In the more than six years of Syria’s civil war, Assad, who is backed by Russia and Vladimir Putin, has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.
Syrian state media and Russian Foreign Ministry did not take responsibility for Saturday’s attacks in Douma.
More than 500 people, including many children, were bought to medical centers showing signs of chemical attacks. Footage shows images of dead bodies with foam visible on their noses and mouths — a clear sign of a chemical attack.
President Donald Trump condemned the attacks, tweeting that it was “mindless chemical attack” and that the people responsible will pay a “big price.”
Other leaders, including U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, said that Russia and Syria should be held accountable for their actions if found to be responsible.
More than 1,700 people have been killed in Eastern Ghouta and about 130,000 Syrians have fled the area as part of evacuation deals between the U.N. and rebel forces.