A suspected chemical weapon attack by the Syrian regime on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun which killed at least 80 people, including 30 women and 23 children and wounded over 350, left one man, Abdul Hamid al-Yousef losing about 19 of his relatives, according to the Syrian American Medical Society.
Heartbreaking images show Abdul Hamid al-Yousef crying uncontrollably over the graves of his dead wife and nine-month-old twin children. He cradled his babies in the crook of his arm. stroking their heads. 'My children. My children. They were beautiful,' the widower said as he visited their graves. His friends had to lift him to his feet and wipe his nose as he sobbed uncontrollably.
Abdul later revealed in an interview how his relatives' homes were destroyed by the air strikes and when he discovered his wife and children had died from chemical poisoning.
'I didn't think to go back to see my children. I helped the people around me then got in the car and went to my parent's home. The whole family was sleeping. I woke up to the sound of the first strike. It was next to my house. I got my children and my wife but we didn't know there was Sarin or any kind of gas at the time. Five minutes later there was a second strike. I looked and saw it hit my parent's house. Another five minutes later and this time it hit our relatives, my uncle's house. I didn't know what I was supposed to do. I gave my children to my wife and told them to go hide.'
Noticing that his wife and children were beginning to fall ill, Abdul took them to a paramedic before heading out to help pull victims from the wreckage. As they dragged people from their homes, they noticed a strange odour and soon began to succumb to the effects of what is believed to be the deadly nerve agent sarin dropped from the government jets.
'I put some cloth in my hand and started breathing through it. As soon as I got there I saw my older brother, Yasser. He was dead. He was holding his son, his little one Amar. They were both dead. Right on top of each other,' he said.
After he accompanied the victims to the hospital that, he asked where his wife and babies were. 'Where's my family? Ahmad and Aya and my wife, where are they? They brought them to me. They were dead.'
Despite witnessing the death of his loved ones, he refuses to leave Syria. Abdul's cousin also revealed how the babies died. ''The family was all waiting down there and were safe, but then they started choking. The twins suddenly began shaking and struggling to breathe. 'Everyone died down there in the basement, they didn't have time to get to the hospital,' he said.
Dr Mamoun Najem, a doctor who treated victims of the attack, compared them to zombies. He told the Telegraph:
'Their pupils were as small as pinpricks, their skin was cold. They were unresponsive like zombies. Chemical attacks leave no marks. It's a silent killer that works its way through the body slowly.'
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