In the final days of its military campaign to re-take the city of Aleppo from rebel forces, troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad again used chemical weapons according to a report released on Monday by the worldwide group Human Rights Watch.
Regime helicopters dropped chlorine bombs on rebel-held eastern Aleppo between November 17 to December 13, killing at least nine people, including four children.
The bid to retake the city by the government was backed by Russian forces, although HRW did not find the Russians culpable of the chemical attacks. Ole Solvang, deputy director for emergencies at Human Rights Watch, details what the organization found.
"The Syrian government denies all false accusations contained in a HRW report which claims that the Syrian army and its allies have used toxic substances during the liberation of Aleppo", the ministry said in a statement.
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The actual number of chemical attacks could be higher, the group said, adding that journalists, medical personnel and other credible sources had reported at least 12 attacks in that period. The report calls on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions, though such a measure is unlikely, as Russian Federation, a permanent and veto-bearing member of the Security Council, has allied itself with the Assad regime.
Injuries from the chemical weapons numbered in the hundreds.
But Russia, Syria's closest ally, has repeatedly questioned investigators' conclusions linking chemical weapons use to the Assad regime.
Human Rights Watch called on the Syrian government to immediately stop using chemical weapons and urged the Security Council to impose sanctions on senior leaders in Syria's chain of command.