Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Father loses twin babies, wife and brothers in Syria 'chemical attack'

  • Warning: Some people may find images within this article upsetting

A father lost his twin babies, his wife, brothers and other family members in a suspected chemical attack in Syria, it has emerged.

Grieving Abdel Hameed al-Youssef collapsed to the ground as he visited the graves of his two nine-month-old children, who died in Tuesday's attack.

The 29-year-old told how they smelled a "strange odour" after the air strike and he left his wife and babies with paramedics, thinking they would be alright.

He found the bodies of two of his brothers, two nephews and a niece, as well as neighbours and friends, but it was only later that he was told his children and wife had died.

"I couldn't save anyone, they're all dead now," he said.

In footage released to The Associated Press, Mr al-Youssef is seen cradling his twins, Aya and Ahmed, in his arms, stroking their hair and choking back tears as he said goodbye to their lifeless bodies.

Abdel Hameed al-Youssef cradles his lifeless children. Credit: AP

His two children, his wife Dalal Ahmed, and other relatives died in the suspected chemical attack in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, which killed at least 86 people, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Describing the moments after the air strike, shop owner Mr al-Youssef said: "I was right beside them and I carried them outside the house with their mother.

"They were conscious at first, but 10 minutes later we could smell the odour."

After leaving them with paramedics and finding other members of his family dead, Mr al-Youssef fainted and woke up in hospital, where he discovered his wife and children had died.

Children were among those killed in Tuesday's attack.

He said: "I took Ahmed and Aya and buried them with my brothers. I buried my kids with my own hands. My wife and my brothers."

The attack has been internationally condemned, with US President Donald Trump describing it as an "affront to humanity" that had crossed "many, many lines".

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said all the evidence points to the Assad regime being responsible for Tuesday's attack.

Despite this, Russia has vowed to continue its support of the Assad regime, with a Kremlin spokesman saying Moscow will argue the contamination was caused by exposure to chemicals from a rebel arsenal hit by a Syrian air strike.

Donald Trump said the attack was an 'affront to humanity'. Credit: AP

More on this story