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Eastern Aleppo targeted in militant chemical attack

A Syrian soldier is treated at a hospital in a government-held area of Aleppo on October 30, 2016 following a militant chemical attack in the city. (Photos by AFP)

Scores of civilians and soldiers have been injured following a militant chemical attack on the eastern neighborhoods of Syria’s divided province of Aleppo, says the Syrian army.

On Sunday, the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces released a statement announcing that the city’s al-Nairab district and its surroundings areas were targeted by militant mortar shells containing chlorine.  

The statement noted that the attack was carried out in response to the recent gains made by the Syrian army in south and west Aleppo in which large numbers of terrorists were killed as well as the militants' inability to break the siege on city’s eastern neighborhoods.

It noted that such cowardly actions will only serve to increase the Syrian army’s determination to purge the Takfiri terrorists from the country.

Militants from the Jaish al-Fatah (or Army of Conquest) brigades gather in position on November 3, 2016, at an entrance to Aleppo, in the southwestern frontline near the neighborhood of Dahiyet al-Assad, during an offensive to break a three-month siege of the terrorist-held east of Syria's second city.

Aleppo has been divided since 2012 between government forces in the west and the militants in the east. Backed by Russian air cover, the Syrian army launched operations to purge the militants from the city in September.

This is not the first time the militants have launched chemical attacks on the city. On November 3, they hit Minyan in west Aleppo with a toxic attack, injuring eight people and on October 31 they hit the city’s suburbs injuring 48 more.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is currently investigating the use of chemical agents in Syria by the request of the government in Damascus.

Last week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Syrian militants’ use of chemical weapons may weaken the “taboo” against the use of such banned agents.   

"It is imperative that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons should be held accountable," he stressed.

Earlier in the day, Syrian forces reclaimed several strategic areas on the western edge of the city, purging it of Takfiri militants.

An injured child waits after receiving treatment at the University hospital in a government-held neighborhood on November 3, 2016 following militant attack on government-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo. 

Since March 2011, Syria has been hit by militancy it blames on some Western states and their regional allies. Backed by Russian air cover, the Syrian military is engaged in an operation to rid the country of Daesh and other terrorist groups.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura have put the death toll from the conflict at more than 300,000 and 400,000, respectively. This is while the UN has stopped its official casualty count in the Arab country, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.

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