On April 11th, reports supported by video from the town of Kafr Zita, Hama, claimed to show the aftermath of a chemical attack on the town. Reports claimed helicopters had dropped a "barrel bomb" containing a toxic gas on the town, with the below video claiming to show the attack as it happened
While there's been a number of small alleged chemical attacks reported in the months since the August 21st Sarin attack, this attack was unusual for a number of reasons. First, earlier attacks have mostly (if not entirely) been on front-line positions with adult males being the victims, while in the Kafr Zita attack it appears children made up a significant number of victims. Second, it's a rare occasion both the government and opposition claim an attack took place, with the government claiming Jabhat al-Nusra launched the attack. As reports claim a helicopter dropped the bomb, it seems highly unlikely Jabhat al-Nusra would have been operating a helicopter, unless they have a previously unheard of air-force the Syrian air defence system failed to detect.
Syrian State TV felt confident enough to specify the type of agent used, "there is information that the terrorist Nusra Front released toxic chlorine... leading to the death of two people and causing more than 100 people to suffer from suffocation".
Now, videos and photographs from Kafr Zita provides evidence of a second, failed chemical attack, on the night of April 12th, with the following video showing a container supposedly used in the attack
Photographs show the markings on the container clearly
The markings, CL2, indicate the container has Chlorine gas inside it, with the name of the Chinese company Norinco also visible. "Bar" is a reference to pressure, so it seems extremely likely this was a cylinder containing Chlorine gas.
Reports from the Kafr Zita media centre claims the cylinder was inside a DIY barrel bomb which failed to explode, shown in the below video. This seems an incredibly badly designed way of deploying chlorine, but may be the only option available after the OPCW's work in Syria, and like the chlorine bombs used in Iraq appear to be better at spreading terror than chlorine.
In the videos and photographs this is specifically described as being dropped from a helicopter. Again, there's no evidence of Jabhat al-Nusra have a helicopter, and considering Kafr Zita has been the focus of Syrian military activity for the past weeks (including the first deployment of BM-30 launched cluster munitions) it seems unlikely the Syrian military would have missed a mystery helicopter flying overhead. One also has to ask how Syrian State TV could state Chlorine was used without access to the site, a pro-opposition area. One also has to wonder how much State TV's claims Jabhat al-Nusra was responsible is influenced by Seymour Hersh's recent claims Jabhat al-Nusra were responsible for the August 21st Sarin attack.
Thanks to @markito0171 and @7oriaWBas for highlighting the videos and photographs.
Update The Violations Documentation Center has now produced a detailed report on the attacks, which can be read here.