Syrian war

Syria: Convoy carrying relief supplies for Eastern Ghouta stopped amid reports of chlorine attack

There were reports that government forces had carried out a chlorine gas strike in its fight to weed out rebel groups from the region.

An aid convoy meant to provide relief supplies to civilians trapped in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta enclave was stopped on Thursday amid reports of a chlorine attack in the region. “The convoy for today is postponed as the situation is evolving on the ground, which doesn’t allow us to carry out the operation,” a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Ingy Sedky, told AFP.

The convoy, jointly operated by the Red Cross, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent organisation and the United Nations, was expected to deliver aid to Eastern Ghouta’s main town of Douma on Thursday. But its trucks remained parked at the Syrian government-controlled Wafideen checkpoint on the edge of Eastern Ghouta.

Rescue workers and Opposition activists in the enclave accused Syrian forces of a chlorine gas attack in Saqba and Hammouriyeh on Wednesday night, Reuters reported. The previous day, doctors and medics in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta reported a suspected chlorine strike, allegedly by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A group of search and rescue workers called the White Helmets tweeted that 30 cases of suffocation were reported after the attack in Hammouriyeh city.

In the past 18 days, 898 people have died in the air and ground offensives carried out by government forces in Eastern Ghouta to fight the rebels, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A convoy of 46 aid trucks crossed the Wafideen checkpoint on Monday, but Syrian government authorities reportedly confiscated surgical kits, insulin, dialysis equipment and other medical supplies from the vehicles.

Meanwhile, an unidentified Syrian Army commander said government forces would soon “slice” the Eastern Ghouta enclave into two, Reuters reported. But Wael Alwan, a Turkey-based spokesperson for the rebel Failaq al-Rahman group, denied that the enclave had been split.

Hussam Aala, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, told the Human Rights Council that military operations in eastern Ghouta targeted “terrorist organisations in accordance with international humanitarian law”.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.


Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.