Air strikes hit hospital treating Syria 'gas attack' victims

The ministry said that "Russian air force planes haven't dealt any strikes on Khan Sheikhoun in the province of Idlib".

Fact-finding missions were already investigating incidents in eastern Aleppo city, western Rif Aleppo, South Homs and North Hama, Rif Damashq and Idlib, the report said. Some were struggling to breathe; others appeared to be 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.

The attack caused many people to choke or faint, and some had foam coming from their mouths, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, citing medical sources who described the symptoms as possible signs of a gas attack.

Jets also struck the town of Salqin in the north of Idlib province on Tuesday, killing eight people, the monitor said.

A doctor working in Idlib province, identifying himself on Twitter as a British-trained physician now volunteering as a "humanitarian aid worker in northern Syria", posed a video in which he demonstrates how survivors of the alleged Khan Sheikhoun attack have "pin-point pupils that do not respond to light".

The news from Idlib came as an worldwide conference opened Tuesday in Brussels to discuss the future of Syria.

Jean-Marc Ayrault condemned the "atrocious act", saying he is seeking the emergency meeting because of events of extreme gravity "that threaten global security".

Spicer would not say whether the White House believes Russian Federation played a role in the attack, saying President Donald Trump has been briefed.

Syria's peace talks got off to a rocky start yesterday when rebel groups refused to meet President Bashar al-Assad's government and a war of words broke out between the two sides.

According to pro-opposition activists the gas used was sarin, which is nearly impossible to detect because it is clear, colourless, tasteless and odourless when used in its purest form.

Syria agreed in a landmark 2013 deal to hand over all its previously-undeclared stock of chemical weapons for destruction by the OPCW.

He said it was unlikely a Mustard gas attack as the victims showed no external blistering.

But member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have repeatedly questioned whether Assad declared everything.

He says warplanes "targeted us after the attack".

The government denies the use of chemical weapons and has in turn accused rebels of using banned weapons.

The death toll rose to 67 in the hours after the attack on Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province on Tuesday. The Syrian American Medical Society, which supports hospitals in opposition-held territory, also said it had sent a team of inspectors to Khan Sheikhoun and an investigation was underway. They covered the floors of the entire hospital, from the patients' rooms to the operating rooms and the corridors.

"Every time we have a moment in which the worldwide community is capable of being together - 70 countries tomorrow - there is someone, somehow, that tries to undermine that feeling of hope by producing a feeling of horror and outrage", de Mistura said.

"Most of the hospitals in Idlib province are now overflowing with wounded people", Khalil told a news conference in Idlib.

  • Carolyn Briggs