Calls For Response to Suspected Poison Gas Attack in Syria Mount
Scrutiny and outrage are growing over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus as Syrian forces continued to bomb rebel held territory Thursday.
In the 24 hours since the reported attack, estimates of the death toll have swung widely from just over 100 to to well over 1,000 men, women, and children killed. More and more videos of civilians exhibiting symptoms synonymous with poison gas exposure have continued to leak out of the embattled country.
The allegations have not deterred Syrian forces, who continued to drop bombs on Ghouta, the area of the alleged attacks.
The global response has been loud, with countries including France, the UK and the United States calling for a prompt response from the United Nations, whose Security Council subsequently held an emergency session and called for an investigation of the attacks.
France went on to demand a strong cohesive response in the case that the allegations are found to be true. Speaking of the possibility that Syria has deployed chemical weapons. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius even said "We need a reaction by the international community .... a reaction of force."
For its part, the United States has also spoken out publicly against the use of chemical weapons in Syria calling the latest round of suspected attacks "deplorable." Though President Obama has said that the use of chemical weapons would be considered crossing a "red line" that would precipitate action from the United States, no plans for action have been set in motion yet.
Humanitarian group UNICEF issued a statement on the alleged attacks saying, "Such horrific acts should be a reminder to all the parties and all who have influence on them that this terrible conflict has gone on far too long and children have suffered more than enough."
The Syrian government has denied accusations that they employed chemical weapons calling them "absolutely baseless."
U.N. inspectors are already in Syria to investigate allegations of three other chemical weapons attacks. But Syrian state television has reported that the government would require a separate agreement between the country and the United Nations in order to allow them to look into the suspected use of chemical weapons in Ghouta.