A woman affected by what activists say was a gas attack on the town of Telminnes is transferred to Bab al-Hawa hospital, which is close to the Turkish border, to receive treatment April 21, 2014. (REUTERS/Amer Alfaj)
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Syrian government forces have attacked rebel-held areas with poisonous chlorine gas in recent weeks and months, leaving men, women and children coughing, choking and gasping for breath, according to Associated Press interviews with more than a dozen activists, medics and residents on the opposition side.Activists have posted videos similar, though on a far smaller scale, to those from last August's chemical weapons attack near Damascus that killed hundreds of people and nearly triggered U.S. airstrikes against Syria.Consequently, Syria's use of chlorine-filled bombs, if confirmed, would be a violation of the chemical weapons treaty that Assad's government signed last year as part of a deal to hand over its stockpile.The Syrian government has been slowly shipping the deadly agents out.Four activists near Damascus said Syrian forces had also used small amounts of poisonous gas in at least four incidents in clashes in rural rebel-held towns around the capital since December.Syria's government accused the al-Qaida rebel group called the Nusra Front of releasing the chlorine gas in Kfar Zeita. On Wednesday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad dismissed as "baseless" accusations that the Syrian government had recently used toxic gas, complaining that some countries were still trying to politicize the chemical weapons issue.
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