- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2013

Syrian rebel fighters on Thursday said President Bashar Assad’s regime has unleashed a second chemical weapon attack in the same Damascus region as the first, Israeli media reported.

The Times of Israel said the accusation came from rebel sources, claiming chemical weapons were used in an attack in the neighborhood of Jobar.

The rebel fighters said they couldn’t tell what type of chemicals were used in the attack, but they said it was definitely a poisonous gas and was leaving victims with breathing problems, the report stated.

A video broadcast on Al Arabiya TV showed images of a man struggling to breathe while medical responders administered treatment. The Times of Israel said no deaths had yet been reported.

The accusation comes as the international community is struggling to respond to Mr. Assad’s first purported chemical weapon attack on rebel forces fighting near Damascus that left more than 1,000 — including women and children — dead on Aug. 21.

Investigators analyzing soil and victims’ blood and urine samples are due to report their findings from this attack to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, hopefully clarifying whether Mr. Assad did indeed launch the chemical attack, despite his repeated denials. U.S. officials expect the findings will show that sarin was used.

SEE ALSO: U.S. can’t prove Bashar Assad approved chemical attacks in Syria

One official with inside knowledge of the probe said in The Times of Israel that so far, investigators have “gotten very rich samples — biomedical and environmental — and they have interviewed victims, doctors and nurses.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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