NEW YORK, APRIL 5, 2017—A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical team supporting the emergency department at Bab Al Hawa Hospital in Syria’s Idlib Province has confirmed that patients’ symptoms are consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent.
A number of victims of the April 4 attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun were brought to the hospital, located about 60 miles to the north, near the Turkish border. Eight people who were examined by MSF staff displayed symptoms consistent with exposure to an agent such as sarin gas or similar compounds, including constricted pupils, muscle spasms and involuntary defecation.
The MSF team provided drugs and antidotes to treat patients, and distributed protective clothing to medical staff in the hospital’s emergency room.
MSF medical teams also visited other hospitals treating victims of the attack, and reported that they smelled of bleach, indicative of possible exposure to chlorine.
These reports strongly suggest that victims of the attack on Khan Sheikhoun were exposed to at least two different chemical agents.
MSF directly operates four health facilities in northern Syria and provides support to more than 150 health facilities in Syria.