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Gas attack in Syria draws int’l outrage

A suspected chemical attack in rebel-held northwestern Syria killed dozens of civilians including children and left many more sick and gasping, causing international outrage Wednesday.

The attack on the town of Khan Sheikhun killed at least 58 civilians and saw dozens suffer respiratory problems and symptoms including vomiting, fainting and foaming at the mouth, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Syria’s opposition blamed President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, saying the attack cast doubt on the future of peace talks.

The army denied any involvement in a statement blaming “terrorist groups” for using “chemical and toxic substances”.

At least 19 children and 13 women were among the dead, the Observatory said, and an AFP correspondent in Khan Sheikhun saw many people on respirators.

If confirmed, it would be one of the worst chemical attacks since Syria’s civil war began six years ago.

The incident brought swift international condemnation, with the United States, France and Britain presenting a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding a full investigation.

“This is clearly a war crime,” British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters.

The Tahrir al-Sham rebel alliance, which includes Al-Qaeda’s former affiliate, the Fateh al-Sham Front, vowed to avenge the deaths, calling on fighters to “ignite the fronts.” (AFP)