Syrian army reportedly uses deadly gas on Khaldiyeh-Bayada frontline

The Syrian Observatory on Human Rights reported that

…Syrian troops have deployed bombs containing a deadly gas while fighting rebels in the central city of Homs.

”Activists in Homs say that six rebels died on Sunday night on the Khaldiyeh-Bayada frontline because they inhaled odourless gas and white smoke,” the observatory said. ”Gas spread in the area after regime troops threw bombs that gave off white smoke as soon as they hit the walls.”

The bombs were allegedly deployed during street clashes with the rebels. ”Those who inhaled the gas felt nauseous and suffered severe headaches. Some suffered fits.

”These are not chemical weapons, but we do not know whether they are internationally prohibited,” said the observatory’s director, Rami Abdel Rahman. ”Activists say it is the first time they have recorded these effects. They’re not conventional weapons.”

The observatory called on the Red Cross to urgently send a specialised medical team to Homs, several districts of which have been besieged by army forces for more than six months. The Local Co-ordination Committees also reported the use of ”bombs containing gases” in Homs.

”These gases lead to muscle relaxation, severe difficulty in breathing and the narrowing of the iris,” the committees, a grassroots network of activists, said.

Amateur video distributed online by the committees showed a man on a stretcher struggling to breathe as a doctor held an oxygen mask over his face.
”It’s definitely a poisonous gas, but we don’t know what type it is,” ha field doctor said. ”It is definitely not sarin.”

–Agence France-Presse, “Rebels kill Intelligence officer in ambusg as Army uses deadly gas on stronghold,” Sydney Morning Herald, December 26, 2012.

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James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.