Syrian Rebels Say Government Used Chemical Weapons
Rebel forces in Syria are claiming that the government used poison gas in a Wednesday attack. Different numbers are being reported, but according to rebels, between 650 and 1300 people were killed in the attack.
According to Syrian opposition forces, an attack carried out by government forces involved the dropping of chemical weapons in Damascus, leaving dozens of people hospitalized or dead.
After the alleged attack, video of Syrians sprawled throughout a hospital surfaced, prompting rumors of a toxic gas attack. Though the origin of the footage has not yet been confirmed, the tape showed victims who were not bleeding and seemed to be suffering from something other than traditional wounds. Some reports included women and children among the victims of the attack.
The allegations were enough to prompt both France and the UK to call on the United Nations Security Council to perform an investigation into the reported chemical weapons attacks. In a statement, British foreign secretary William Hague said he was “deeply concerned by reports that hundreds of people, including children, have been killed in airstrikes and a chemical weapons attack on rebel-held areas near Damascus.”
This isn't the first time that claims of chemical weapons have come out of Syria. In fact, Wednesday's attack came one day after UN inspectors arrived in the country to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use. The inspectors will look at three locations including one near Aleppo, a site where both sides of the ongoing civil war accused each other of engaging in chemical warfare on March 19, killing dozens. There's no word yet on whether or not the inspectors will investigate this latest allegation.
For its part, the Syrian government has vehemently denied accusations that it used toxic gas. During programming on the state television network, a denial of the attacks flashed underneath normal programming saying that there was "no truth whatsoever" to reports that the government had participated in a chemical weapons attack.
The White House commented on the attack Wednesday afternoon, calling chemical weapon use "deplorable," but adding that the U.S. has no independent verification that said weapons were used at this time. Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest promised the U.S. will work with the UN to investigate the attack and chemical weapons in the Syria.