In what is becoming the norm, the Syrian government has been accused of dropping barrel bombs loaded with chlorine gas. According to local activists, the chlorine gas attack occurred in a rebel-held part in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

This week, local media and activists claimed that the government used helicopters to drop containers loaded with chlorine gases on civilians in Aleppo. Syrian Civil Defence, a volunteer emergency group commonly known as white helmets, backed the claims saying that its volunteers reached the scene soon after the gas attack.

Local volunteers say that when they got to the scene of the attack, they found people choking due to the deadly effects the gas has on the lungs. According to them, the symptoms were similar to what happened in the past when government forces attacked rebel-held areas using chlorine gas.

Government forces put eastern Aleppo under siege

On Sunday, Assad’s forces placed eastern Aleppo under siege for the 2nd time since July after they captured some areas previously held by rebels. Aleppo has been a focal point of the civil war and has been a divided city since the fighting in Syria began. Syrian government forces hold areas in the west while the opposition controls neighbourhoods in the east.

A month ago, opposition forces had managed to breach the siege in several districts of Aleppo, however, the recent push by the government forces took back most of the ground gained by the opposition.

In the past, opposition forces have failed to get a decisive victory in Aleppo due to divisions among them. In addition, Russia’s support of the government forces has crippled the once strong rebel push, resulting in a deadly stalemate.

International community urged to act on Syria’s chemical attacks

The UN and the international community have been urged to take action against the Syrian government due to the chemical attacks.

Syrian government forces have been accused of using chemical weapons against rebel-held areas in the past. An inquiry by the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons discovered that Assad’s forces were responsible for chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015. Both of these attacks involved chlorine gas.

Civilians trapped in Aleppo city

On Tuesday, the UN said that a brief cessation of hostilities to allow relief for civilians caught up in the fighting was closely followed by brutal fighting. The report said that the brief relief in fighting had allowed aid to reach civilians for the first time in years, however, it only lasted for a few weeks.

Aleppo city is one of the places that has witnessed the worst fighting in Syria. Currently, it is estimated that 600,000 live under siege while 300,000 civilians are trapped in the city.