640 dead in alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack
At least 640 people have been killed in a nerve gas attack on Syria’s Ghouta region, activists at the Syrian Revolution General Commission told Al Arabiya on Wednesday morning, as hundreds were also reported wounded.
The activists at the Syrian Revolutionary Command Council said regime fighter planes were flying over the area after the bombardment, accusing the forces loyal to President Bashar Assad of using chemical agents.
The attack was on rebel-held areas of eastern Damascus.
"Regime forces ... stepped up military operations in the Eastern Ghouta and Western Ghouta zones of the Damascus region with aircraft and rocket launchers, causing several dozen dead and wounded," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP news agency.
The intensive bombing on the outskirts of the capital could be heard by residents of Damascus, where a grey cloud capped the sky.
The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a vast network of activists on the ground and medics, said the army operation was aimed at the recapture of Madhamiyat el-Sham, an area southwest of Damascus.
The Local Coordination Committees (LCC), a network of activists reported hundreds of casualties in the "brutal use of toxic gas by the criminal regime in parts of Western Ghouta."
According to Reuters news agency, the reported use of the chemical agents could not be immediately verified. The news coincides with a visit to Damascus by a United Nations team of chemical weapons experts.
In an interview with Al Arabiya, Syrian National Coalition chief Ahmad Jarba called on the U.N. investigators to travel to Ghouta, "the site of the massacre,"