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Syria: Two bangs, a hissing sound, then the gas…

Safe: Masa, 7, who survived Douma attack PIC: SUNDAY TIMES/NEWS LICENSING

SURVIVORS of Syria’s recent chemical weapons attack have told of their escape as friends and relatives died around them.

About 3,000 people have fled Douma since the April 7 strike on the Damascus suburb. At least 40 were killed.

‘The bombs were really strong,’ said Amani, 34, who clutched her seven-year-old twins Masa and Malaz in a basement during the attack. ‘Then we heard two bangs, like something fell, and a hissing sound.’ Two young men went out to investigate before returning and shouting: ‘Gas, everybody out.’

Speaking from a refugee camp near the Turkish border, Amani said Masa was foaming at the mouth as the family scrambled into the street.

‘The gas was spicy in my throat like chilli. I was vomiting and coughing,’ she told the Sunday Times. ‘Around me, people were just falling to the ground. The basement next door didn’t hear the gas. They all died where they were.’

Rescuer Ibrahim Reyhani said the symptoms he saw suggested a mix of chlorine and the nerve agent sarin.