BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Syrian rescue service operating in rebel-held territory said on Tuesday a helicopter dropped containers of toxic gas overnight on a town close to where a Russian military helicopter was shot down hours earlier.
The opposition Syrian National Coalition accused President Bashar Assad of being behind the attack. Assad has denied previous accusations of using chemical weapons.
A spokesman for the Syria Civil Defence said 33 people, mostly women and children, were affected by the gas, which they suspect was chlorine, in Saraqeb, in rebel-held Idlib province.
The group, which describes itself as a neutral band of search and rescue volunteers, posted a video on YouTube apparently showing a number of men struggling to breathe and being given oxygen masks by people in civil defense uniforms.
“Medium-sized barrels fell containing toxic gasses. The Syrian Civil Defence was not able to determine the type of the gas,” said the spokesman.
The Syrian government and its Russian allies were not immediately available for comment.
The SNC said in a statement: “After shelling, besieging and killing civilians and perpetrating war crimes on them, the Assad regime has resorted once again, and in breach of UN resolutions 2118 and 2235, to using chemical substances and toxic gasses.
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