Syrians mark anniversary of chemical weapons attack


August 21, 2014

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REMEMBERING AUGUST 21: On August 21, 2013, a chemical weapons attack killed an estimated 1,400 Syrians in the Damascus suburbs of East Ghouta, sparking outrage from the international community as both the regime and rebels accused each other of being behind the attacks.

One year later, while much of the world has turned its attention to the chaos in Iraq and the rise of the Islamic State, Syrians on Thursday marked the anniversary by holding vigils and posting online memorials.

In this picture, circulated widely on social media on Thursday, a man in the Damascus suburb of Moadimiyat a-Sham commemorates the one-year anniversary by arranging a collage of photographs of the victims. The town, then under rebel control, has since held to a truce with the regime that returned it to government control.

Elsewhere, in the southern province of Daraa, Syrians gathered in the eponymous capital in a demonstration as part of the #BreathingDeath movement, a campaign launched this week to remember the anniversary of the attack. Children and adults wore gas masks, wielding signs that said in Arabic, “I don’t want chemicals, I don’t want death.”

Other demonstrators wanted to ensure that the chemical weapons attack on Ghouta is not lost in the history of the war.

“My name is Ghouta,” campaign posters declared. “What if you were in my place a year ago?”

-August 21, 2014

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