Following a peace truce that only lasted for a couple of days, the city of Douma was again under heavy shelling that resulted in tens of casualties and hundreds of injuries. The attacks included the systematic targeting of medical centers and civil defense teams, heavily paralyzing the medical capacity of the city due to the destruction of the majority of the civil defense centers and a large number of ambulances and rescue vehicles, leaving them completely out of service.
On Saturday, 07/04/2018 At 7:45 PM and with the continuous bombardment of residential neighborhoods in the city of Douma, more than 500 cases -the majority of whom are women and children- have reached the medical centers with symptoms of exposure to chemicals. Cases have shown signs of respiratory distress, central cyanosis, excessive oral foaming, corneal burns, and the emission of chlorine-like odor.
On clinical examination, bradycardia, wheezing and coarse bronchial rales were observed. One of the injured was dead on arrival. Other patients were treated with humidified free oxygen and bronchodilators after which most have improved. In several cases, where the exposure to chemicals was on a larger scale, patients, including 4 children were put on ventilators. Six casualties were reported, one of which is a woman with symptoms of convulsions and pinpoint pupils.
Civil defense volunteers have reported more than 42 casualties with similar clinical symptoms of cyanosis, excessive oral foaming and corneal burns that were found dead in their homes/shelters. Civil defense teams were unable to evacuate the bodies due to the intensity of the odor and the lack of PPE. The given symptoms indicate that the victims suffocated from the exposure to toxic chemicals; most likely an organophosphate element.
Following the chemical attack, the target site and the surrounding area of the hospital receiving the injured were attacked with barrel bombs, which hindered the ability of ambulances to reach the victims.
The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and the Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets) have documented more than 200 uses of chemical weapons in Syria since 2012. Previous Security Council Resolutions on this matter have failed in stopping the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The Syrian Civil Defense Organization and the Syrian American Medical Society demand an immediate cease-fire in the city of Douma and the entry of international investigation teams from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the facts of the crime. The organizations also call for the immediate intervention of the International Community to prohibit the use of chemical weapons in Syria and stop the tragedy of Ghouta and the city of Douma, so as to ensure the protection of personnel and humanitarian facilities to enable them to continue their life-saving work.