Syrian American Medical Society says patients suffering exposure to chemical compounds treated in Eastern Ghouta
Sixteen patients including six children were treated in a SAMS-supported hospital in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, "suffering from symptoms indicative to exposure to chemical compounds" according to a tweet from the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) late Sunday.
The Syrian opposition-run Rural Damascus Health Directorate (RDHD) on Monday said several people were admitted to medical facilities in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday showing signs that, "are consistent with exposure to toxic chlorine gas", according to a statement. The RDHD statement describes patients "having symptoms including dyspnea, intensive irritation of the mucus membranes, irritation of the eyes, and dizziness" and added, "the smell of people in the area, ambulance drivers, and victims all had the clear and known smell of chlorine gas."
CNN is unable to independently verify claims chlorine was used as a weapon in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday. Both sides of the Syrian conflict have in the past accused one another of the use of chlorine as a weapon. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied claims that it has used chlorine as a weapon on civilians.
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02:48 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Biological samples from the area of the alleged chemical attack in Syria have tested positive for chlorine and a sarin-like nerve agent, according to a US official familiar with the US analysis of the test results.

A western official told CNN that it is not conclusive but officials suspect the substance used in the attack was a mixture of chlorine, sarin and possibly other chemicals.

Another US official familiar with how the US intelligence is unfolding regarding the chemical attack tells CNN that the initial intelligence assessment – that a chemical agent was used – is based on viewing the videos and comparing the shown physical effects with what is known about both chlorine and nerve agents.

NBC News first reported the positive test.

Speaking at the United Nations on Friday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley pushed back against denials by both the Syrian and Russian governments that chemical agents were used in the weekend’s attack.

“I will tell you that, first of all, did a chemical weapons attack happen? Yes, the US has analyzed. Yes, it has happened. The UK has analyzed. Yes, it has happened. And France has analyzed. Yes, it has happened,” she said.

The alleged chemical attack took place in Douma last Saturday. Medical sources and activists in Syria said blood, urine and hair follicle samples were smuggled in batches to Turkey after rebel groups and their families were pushed out of the area by the Assad regime, CNN reported earlier on Friday.

The sources did not know what happened to the samples after they reached Turkey.