A suspected chemical attack in Syria has drawn international condemnation, with the United States, France and Britain all pointing the finger at President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
At least 100 people, including 11 children, were killed in the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on Tuesday, doctors and a monitor said.
The death toll is likely to rise, according to the Union of Medical Care Organizations, a coalition of international aid agencies that funds hospitals in Syria and which is partly based in Paris.
The United Nations said it would investigate the bombing raid as a possible war crime, and an emergency Security Council meeting was scheduled for Wednesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack caused many people to choke or faint, and some to foam from the mouth, citing medical sources who described the symptoms as signs that gas was used.
Local health workers said the death toll could rise and eventually reach 100. A member of the White Helmets, a rescue group that operates in rebel-held areas, told News agencies that up to 300 people had been injured.
The Syrian National Coalition, an opposition group, accused government planes of carrying out the attack, and said they used a gas similar to sarin.
Syria’s military denied the accusation in a statement, saying the army “denies using any toxic or chemical agents in Khan Sheikhoun today, and it did not and never will use it anywhere”.
Syria has denied its forces caused the deaths and Russia, which is supporting the government, said it had not carried out any air strikes in the vicinity.
In a statement, US President Donald Trump condemned what he called “these heinous actions” by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused the Syrian government of “brutal, unabashed barbarism”.