Syrian regime using chlorine gas near Damascus, says opposition

Cairo, Jan 5 (IANS) One of Syria’s most prominent opposition factions on Thursday accused the government of using chemical weapons in an attack on rebel-held territory on the fringes of Damascus.

The Free Syrian Army took to Twitter to accuse the Syrian regime, headed by President Bashar al-Assad, of using chlorine gas during an attack on rebel positions, reported Efe news.

“CHLORINE GAS dropped by regime in rockets from warplanes on Basima, Wadi Barada, rural #Damascus,” wrote the FSA on its Twitter page.

The group later claimed to have destroyed an advancing government tank amid heavy clashes with the Syrian regime and its allies from the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah.

Government bombardment on the Wadi Barada area, a strategic satellite region of Damascus and an important source of water, has been steady despite the nation-wide ceasefire announced on December 30, said the FSA.

The FSA also threatened to withdraw its cooperation in the ceasefire talks scheduled to take place in Astana, Kazakhstan, in the coming weeks because of the alleged breach in the ceasefire agreements.