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This Is What It Was Like In The Aftermath Of The Alleged Chemical Attack In Syria

Warning: This post contains graphic images and videos.

Posted on April 10, 2018, at 8:43 a.m. ET

A suspected chemical attack over the weekend killed at least 40 people in Douma, Syria, a rebel-held town near Damascus, according to local media and activists on the ground.

The Syrian government denied allegations that a poison gas was dropped on the area, contradicting reports from medics, activists, rescue workers, and leaders of Western nations.Images circulating on social media showed the lifeless bodies of men, women, children, and infants foaming at the mouth — a telltale sign of a gas attack. The footage could not be independently confirmed.
Social Media / Reuters

The Syrian government denied allegations that a poison gas was dropped on the area, contradicting reports from medics, activists, rescue workers, and leaders of Western nations.

Images circulating on social media showed the lifeless bodies of men, women, children, and infants foaming at the mouth — a telltale sign of a gas attack. The footage could not be independently confirmed.

An activist in Douma communicating with BuzzFeed News over WhatsApp in both Arabic and English described the “terrifying” sight.

"There is nothing I can say that can describe what happened," Abdullah Abo Humam told BuzzFeed News.Humam said he was about 800 meters from where the attack took place on Friday, and wasn't able to enter a building that was hit until the following day."I saw someone at the entrance to the building. He told us that everyone inside the building was dead, and that his family was among them. He also told us that the chemical attack happened when he was outside the house, and he came back to find everyone dead," Humam said.Syrian forces were still dropping barrel bombs. "He was just standing there, unalarmed by all the other bombs coming down around his house. His whole family were dead so he didn’t even move, he was just standing there, not afraid, just in shock. He could have been hit by a barrel bomb at any minute, but he just didn’t move."
BuzzFeed News / whatsapp

"There is nothing I can say that can describe what happened," Abdullah Abo Humam told BuzzFeed News.

Humam said he was about 800 meters from where the attack took place on Friday, and wasn't able to enter a building that was hit until the following day.

"I saw someone at the entrance to the building. He told us that everyone inside the building was dead, and that his family was among them. He also told us that the chemical attack happened when he was outside the house, and he came back to find everyone dead," Humam said.

Syrian forces were still dropping barrel bombs.

"He was just standing there, unalarmed by all the other bombs coming down around his house. His whole family were dead so he didn’t even move, he was just standing there, not afraid, just in shock. He could have been hit by a barrel bomb at any minute, but he just didn’t move."

"When we came to the building, we found the children, women, and men who had died and had signs of suffocation," said Humam. Here's a wire agency image of the outside of building he entered:

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

In videos widely shared by activists and journalists, first responders can barely move through the building Humam was in because of the number of bodies on the ground.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

“Their skin was blue, there was a foamy liquid outside their mouths, their eyes were fixed, and we also saw some families trying to get to the lower floors of the building from the upper floors to escape the smell,” Humam said.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

“They didn’t know they were heading for death,” Humam said, because the bomb had fallen into the bottom floor of the building.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

When he was inside the building, Humam kept thinking how it was his “duty to tell the world about what happened to these children.”

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

In a short clip, seen by BuzzFeed News, Hamam says he spoke to this man, whose family was killed inside the house.

Hamam

The family was praying in the basement of the house when the missile struck. They were unable to get out in time.

"I could not save any of them," the man, who gave his last name to Humam as Hanen, tells the camera while cradling his youngest daughter. "She is one of my seven children; they did not leave me one of them."

Hamam said the man had lost his entire family. His wife and daughter were inside, as were his brother, his wife, and their children.

"All the children have gone. Even my sweetheart Asia. They did not leave me one of my family. They all gone," he said. "They're all gone."

"I have no words to describe the feelings of that father," Hamam told BuzzFeed News. "The words of the father of a girl who died were very upsetting. They made me cry."

Hamam

Munzer al-Awad contributed to this report.

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