A large number of congenital deformities have been recorded each month in Hassakeh province in the north east of Syria, a medical source told Zaman al-Wasl.
Most cases were the absence of skulls, known as "frog babies" or cases of spina bifida, which results from problems in cohesion of the spinal tract, medical sources said.
Many believe that the poor health and conditions which women live in are the reasons for the problems. Others say the deformities are the result of inhaling air polluted with poisonous gases and residuals from primary oil refineries, or contact with phosphorous from burning primary oils in fireplaces.
Sources express fears of an increase in long-term congenital deformity in the future as a result of using primary oils.
“Air has become too polluted as you can see a black cloud over towns of al-Shadadi and Rmilan, where plants and even sheep's wool has become blackish,” one source said.
The source requested international organizations study the conditions and reasons behind the problems, especially after the number of deformed births reached 3-4 each month.
An oil refinement expert confirmed that direct exposure to residuals from primary refineries badly affects people, because the oil contains some radioactive materials which affect workers, leading to alteration of their “genetic map” and resulting in deformation among their children.
“However women’s exposure to those material leads to direct effects and appears in her children as congenital deformation,” the source said.
There is no effective medical services and follow up in Hassakeh, especially the countryside, as pregnant women do not get to know their fetuses’ condition, amid the widespread use of primary refineries, which expose women to risk factors of deformation.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer