Syria’s opposition accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of gassing many hundreds of people – by one report as many as 1,300 – on Wednesday in what would, if confirmed, be the world’s worst chemical weapons attack in decades.
Western and regional countries called for U.N. chemical weapons investigators – who arrived in Damascus just three days ago – to be urgently dispatched to the scene of one of the deadliest incidents of the two-year-old civil war.
Russia, too, urged an “objective” investigation but Assad’s biggest foreign ally also heaped skepticism on his enemies’ claims. A foreign ministry spokesman in Moscow said the release of gas after U.N. inspectors arrived suggested that it was a rebel “provocation” to discredit Syria’s government.
Images, including some by freelance photographers supplied to Reuters, showed scores of bodies including of small children, laid on the floor of a clinic with no visible signs of injuries.
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