UN Security Council to discuss suspected chemical attack in Syria
A suspected chemical attack in a town in Syria's rebel-held northern Idlib province killed dozens of people on Tuesday, opposition activists said, describing the attack as among the worst in the country's six-year civil war.
Eyewitnesses said the attack was carried out by jets operated by the Russian and Syrian governments, but both Moscow and Damascus denied responsibility.
Photos and video emerging from Khan Sheikhoun, which lies south of the city of Idlib, the provincial capital, show limp bodies of children and adults. Some are seen struggling to breathe; others appear foaming at the mouth.
The activist-run Assi Press published video of paramedics carrying victims from the scene by a pickup truck. The victims were stripped down to their underwear. Many appeared unresponsive.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group put the death toll from the gas attack at 58, saying there were 11 children among the dead. Meanwhile, the Idlib Media Center said dozens of people had been killed.
The media center published footage of medical workers appearing to intubate an unresponsive man stripped down to his underwear and hooking up a little girl foaming at the mouth to a ventilator. It was not immediately clear if all those killed died from suffocation or were struck by other airstrikes occurring in the area around the same time.
It was the third claim of a chemical attack in just over a week in Syria. The previous two were reported in Hama province, in an area not far from Khan Sheikhoun, the site of Tuesday's alleged attack.
Tuesday's reports came on the eve of a major international meeting in Brussels on the future of Syria and the region, to be hosted by the EU's High Representative Federica Mogherini.