By Jared Malsin
Updated: August 11, 2016 6:21 AM ET

A woman and two young children were killed in a suspected chemical attack on a residential neighborhood in rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Wednesday night, Syria, health officials say.

The Aleppo health directorate confirmed the attack on the al-Zibdieh neighborhood of Aleppo, although laboratory tests have not verified the type of chemical agent used. Medics said the apparent chemical agent had been delivered by a makeshift “barrel bomb” delivered by a suspected Syrian regime helicopter.

Dr. Houssam Alnahhas, of the chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological task force with the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organization said samples had been collected but they had been unable to be transported outside of Syria due to the security situation.

The dead included a woman, a five-year-old girl, and a boy, 12. The attack took place at 8:30 pm on Wendesday evening, Dr. Alnahhas said, speaking from neighboring Turkey. Two hospitals received a total of 70 casualties he said, with the victims exhibiting symptoms “compatible with chlorine gas.” The three people killed had been at home at the time of the attack.

“That’s why there was a huge number of casualties, it was a civilian neighborhood. It was not a front line or conflict area,” said Dr. Alnahhas.

He added that it was the first time health workers were certain there had been a chemical attack on the city of Aleppo, which is a central battleground in the Syrian civil war. “It was the first time that we were able to confirm 100 percent that an attack took place,” he said in a phone call.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

Read More From TIME

EDIT POST