x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

At least 100 dead near Damascus amid chemical attack allegations

According to activists, almost 500 people died of gas inhalation and exposure to chemical weapons. Syrian authorities, meanwhile, denied charges that the army used chemical arms.

Relatives and activists inspect the bodies of people they say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus. /Mohamed al-Abdullah/Shaam News Network
Relatives and activists inspect the bodies of people they say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus. /Mohamed al-Abdullah/Shaam News Network

BEIRUT // At least 100 people were killed in fierce army bombardment of rebel strongholds in the Ghouta suburbs of the Syrian capital today, an NGO reported.

"This figure will surely go up. The raids and bombardment are continuing," said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which gathers its information from activists and medics.

It did not comment on allegations by anti-regime activists that the army had used chemical weapons.

According to activists, almost 500 people died of gas inhalation and exposure to chemical weapons.

Syrian authorities, meanwhile, denied charges that the army used chemical arms.

"Reports on the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta are totally false," state news agency SANA reported.

"It's an attempt to prevent the UN commission of inquiry from carrying out its mission."

Al-Watan newspaper said the Syrian government had "pledged to cooperate and facilitate the work" of a UN team of chemical inspectors who launched a mission in the country on Tuesday.