Syrian opposition say more than 1,300 dead from chemical weapons attack
Bodies of children and adults are laid on the ground as Syrian rebels claim they were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21, 201(AFP/HO/Shaams News Network)
The Syrian opposition on Wednesday accused the government of "massacring" more than 1,300 people in a chemical weapons attack on rebel-held areas of Damascus' suburbs.
The rebels say that the regime used nerve gas, which resulted in many of the victims choking to death.
Multiple videos of the victims of the attack that have been distrubuted by activists show medical staff attending to suffocating children. The videos could not be immediately authenticated, according to AFP.
The claim of a chemical attack has not yet been independently verified and accusations that the incident was perpetrated by troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have been vehemently denied by the government.
The Syrian regime accuses the rebels of committing the attack as a means of hindering the progress of the UN chemical weapons inspection team currently in Damascus. They are investigating claims of previous chemical warfare.
The Local Coordination Committees (LCC), a network of Syrian based activists, reported hundreds of casualties in the "brutal use of toxic gas by the criminal regime", according to AFP.
The attack "led to suffocation of the children and overcrowding field hospitals with hundreds of casualties amid extreme shortage of medical supplies to rescue the victims, particularly Atropine," the LCC saiD, AFP reported.