Reports of Massive Chemical Attack Near Damascus as UN Observers Arrive in Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Wildly varying reports emerged of recent chemical weapons use in Syria, with hundreds allegedly killed in the latest attack.
This comes on the same day that the UN inspectors arrive in Damascus to investigate allegations of use of toxic arms.
The casualty figures range from dozens to almost 1,200 deaths.
Initially, Al-Arabiya posted news of 280 victims on Twitter. Later, the news outlet upgraded the figure up to 1,188 victims quoting the Free Syrian Army.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had a much lower figure, claiming dozens of people were killed, including children.
News agencies such as Reuters and AP mostly put the numbers of victims at hundreds, but say that reports can't be independently verified.
Meanwhile, an RT Arabic correspondent managed to contact some locals who say they haven't witnessed any “poisonous attack” in the area. However, they point out that gunfire can be heard.
Syrian authorities issued a statement saying there is “no truth whatsoever” to reports of chemical weapons use near Damascus.
The incident reportedly took place in Ghouta, on the green agricultural belt territory surrounding the Syrian capital.
The UN received some 13 reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria and the UN inspectors will be investigating the “allegations” of chemical weapons use, rather than determining who was behind the attacks.
In July, Russia submitted to the UN its analysis of samples taken west of Aleppo. Russia’s findings indicated that it was rebels behind the Khan al-Assal incident, in which more than 30 people died.