August 21, 2013
Syrian Rebels Report Gas Attack, Claim Hundreds Are Dead

Syrian rebels reported a gas attack near Damascus on Wednesday. The attack happened in the suburbs of the Syrian capital and killed hundreds of people.

Activists blamed the regime for the chemical attack, claiming that the government fired "rockets with poisonous gas heads" in the attack.

The apparent gas attack comes as a 20-member UN chemical weapons team is in the country to investigate three other sites of alleged chemical weapons attacks, reports Al Jazeera.

The regime's main opposition group, UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, asserted that the regime killed more than 650 people in the latest attack.

However, Syrian authorities dismissed claims of an attack, saying the reports were meant to hinder the UN inspectors' mission in the country.

USA Today notes that Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi, speaking on Syrian state television, commented, "All what has been said is ridiculous and naive, unscientific, illogical and subjective."

The United States and other world powers could not confirm or deny the alleged Syrian gas attack. However, the White House called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to open the area to United Nations inspectors to show whether or not an attack happened Wednesday.

Meanwhile, France and Britain also called for an immediate investigation by the UN chemical weapons inspectors as well. If they can be confirmed, Wednesday's claims of a chemical attack would be the worst since March 19 in Khan al-Assal. At least 30 people were killed in that attack.

Images sent in from the latest alleged gas attack show children shivering on beds in the hospital. Another shot showed a boy screaming while holding a tissue to his mouth. People are seen running in all directions around him while a man lies on the floor being splashed with water.

Reported symptoms from the attack included blurry vision, weakness, and blindness for some. Even though many emergency workers used oxygen masks, many of them also inhaled the gas while helping the injured.

It is unclear how the latest alleged Syrian gas attack will affect the fighting in the already-war torn nation.

[Image via ShutterStock]