Syria: At least four dead after suspected chlorine gas attack in Aleppo

At least four people are dead after a suspected chlorine gas attack on the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. The gas is believed to have been dropped alongside barrel bombs on the Zubdiya neighbourhood, which is in the rebel-held part of the city. Hamza Khatib, manager of Al Quds hospital, told Reuters that he had recorded four deaths and 55 injuries. Mr Khatib said he was saving pieces of patients’ clothing and pieces of the bombs as evidence. Syria Civil Defence, a rescue service operating in rebel-held parts of Syria, said they had recorded three deaths and 22 injured. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a woman and her child were among the dead. A video was posted online by the Aleppo Media Centre, an opposition news portal, which showed a child and adults wearing breathing apparatus.

When we’re offered three hours then you have to ask what could be achieved in that three hours - is it to meet the need, or would it only just meet a very small part of the need?

Stephen O'Brien, United Nations emergency relief co-ordinator

Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city before the war, is the subject of a bitter fight between rebel forces and those under the command of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Last week, rebels broke through a month-long government siege in the city’s east, where an estimated 250,000 are living. Fierce fighting continues, however, meaning a safe corridor for civilians and aid has not yet been established. Russia has announced a three-hour daily ceasefire to allow humanitarian and aid deliveries, although it is not yet clear whether the rebels have agreed to respect the halt in hostilities. United Nations emergency relief co-ordinator Stephen O'Brien has said he is willing to consider the Russian plan, but warned the pause needed to last at least 48 hours because the main supply route into the city, cut off by government forces last month, is so damaged only smaller trucks can be used.