Photographer says Syria attack victims "suffocating"

BEIRUT Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:13am EDT

A man, wounded in what the government said was a chemical weapons attack, is treated at a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo March 19, 2013. REUTERS/George Ourfalian

A man, wounded in what the government said was a chemical weapons attack, is treated at a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo March 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/George Ourfalian

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Reuters photographer in the Syrian city of Aleppo said victims of what the government said was a chemical weapons attack were suffering breathing problems and people said they could smell chlorine in the air.

Syria's government and rebels accused each other of firing a rocket loaded with chemical agents outside the northern city on Tuesday. A government minister said it killed 16 people and wounded 86.

The victims were sent to four hospitals in government-controlled areas of Aleppo and some were having trouble breathing, the photographer said.

"I saw mostly women and children," he said. "They said that people were suffocating in the streets and the air smelt strongly of chlorine."

"People were dying in the streets and in their houses," he said over the phone after visiting the University of Aleppo hospital and the al-Rajaa hospital.

(Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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