Over the last several days, Assad’s forces have been bombarding the Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, as well as the cities of Zamalka, Saqba, Jisreen, and Al-Mleiha.  The areas of Ain Tarma and Jobar have also been mentioned.  Syrian activists claim the bombardment has been primarily mortars and multiple rocket launchers, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that in addition to land-based rockets, there has been aerial bombardment of Mou’adamiya.

It was in Eastern Ghouta that the first claims of chemical weapons use began.  Initial casualty estimates ranged from a few dozen to 1300.  Present estimates are between 500 and 650 dead, according to Reuters.  As time has gone on, extensive photographic and video evidence has begun to come out that, unlike previous claims of chemical weapons use in Syria, this is definitely not unfounded.  There are a lot of bodies, none showing any signs of bullet, shrapnel, or blast wounds.  At least one boy can be seen with froth coming out of his nose and mouth, and what appear to be chemical burns on his skin.  The agent in question is unknown.

The Assad government has denied responsibility for the attack.  The Russian government has called it a “provocation” launched by the rebels, especially in light of the fact that a 20-member UN delegation, led by a Swedish chemical weapons expert, Ake Sellstrom, arrived in Damascus on Sunday, to investigate the 13 previous alleged uses of chemical weapons in the country’s civil war, which has now been estimated to have cost 100,000 lives already.