As the American debate begins there is no justice yet for Zamalka

Bill Neely

Former International Editor

The little boy hardly takes a breath as he tells his story,of the poison gas that took away the breath of his family. Credit: ITV News

The little boy hardly takes a breath as he tells his story, his voice getting higher as he remembers the poison gas that took away the breath of his dad and grandparents, victims of the chemical weapons massacre that killed hundreds.

"The weapon dropped just behind us here", he gabbles, "we went to the roof but my grandparents were downstairs unconscious, then my dad passed away. Now, there's just me, my sister and my mum." Beside him a smaller boy stares up, holding a football tight to his chest.

America says more than four hundred children alone died in an attack it is now proposing to avenge.

The poisoned air has cleared in this suburb of Damascus, but the memories have not.

A man stands in what's left of a house, a gaping hole in the roof, debris everywhere from an explosion. "Right here, this is the centre", he says, of Zamalka's Ground Zero. "Everyone within fifty yards was almost immediately killed. No-one got away".

America blames Syria's army and today, its debate in Congress begins. In Zamalka there is no debate. "The weapon hit us at around two fifteen in the morning", says one survivor. "I lost thirty-one people close to me, including my older brother, my cousin, his wife and kids."

They struggle to get water and food now - the suburb is still under siege by Syria's army. Many here say the troops just lost patience with rebels who have held it for more than a year.

And many have fled. The gas attack was the last straw. One man says three thousand people who used to live in one area have gone. "After the attacks there are about two hundred left; twenty families".

The children who are left still play football on the dirt roads. Many of the adults gave statements to the UN inspectors who came for a few hours. The inspectors are still analysing the samples they took away.

No-one disputes that hundreds died here. But as the world's nations squabble about what should be done and American politicians begin a long debate, the crime remains unanswered, the mystery unsolved, the killers unpunished.

There is no justice, yet, for Zamalka.