Syria attack symptoms consistent with nerve agent use

Eyewitnesses said the attack's aftermath was nightmarish and unlike anything that they had previously seen.

Faced with global outrage over that attack, Assad agreed to a Russia-sponsored deal to destroy his chemical arsenal.

Russian Federation said it would submit information from its Defence Ministry to the Security Council debate.

He told reporters at a Syria donor conference in Belgium that "everyone is coming to Brussels to make a statement and the regime made its statement in Syria". Representatives from 70 countries were present. The previous two were reported in Hama province, in an area not far from Khan Sheikhoun, the site of Tuesday's alleged attack. Videos from the scene showed volunteer medics using firehoses to wash the chemicals from victims' bodies and lifeless children being piled in heaps.

If confirmed the incident would be the deadliest chemical attack in Syria since sarin gas killed hundreds of civilians in the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta in August 2013.

Feras al-Jundi, a physician who was an early responder in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib told CNN that, upon entering the hospital where many victims were taken, "there were many, many atrocious things to see".

Air strikes hit the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun around 7:00 am (0400 GMT) on Tuesday, and residents reported finding entire families "dead in their beds".

Syrian doctors said a combination of toxic gases is suspected to have been released during the airstrikes, causing the high death toll and severe symptoms.

Its denials have done little to quiet worldwide condemnation, with United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Wednesday saying the "horrific events" showed that "war crimes are going on in Syria". Medical experts say attack appears the result of a nerve agent like sarin gas. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called on Russian Federation to endorse a planned Security Council resolution condemning the attack.

Pope Francis has called a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens, including many children, in Syria "an unacceptable massacre". Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said in a statement early Wednesday that Russian military assets registered the strike on a weapons depots and ammunition factory on the town's eastern outskirts.

It said that "terrorists" had been transporting the chemical munitions from its largest arsenal to Iraq.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused the Syrian government of conducting at least eight chlorine gas attacks on opposition-controlled residential areas during the final months of the battle for Aleppo past year that killed at least nine civilians and injured 200.

The Syrian Civil defense rescue group, known as the White Helmets, said the hospital was knocked out of service.

"Some are hawkish, some others want to think whether we could work with him somehow", another senior European Union diplomat said.

He said in a statement Wednesday that the use of chemical weapons is "illegal and abhorrent". They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday as they are not allowed to brief media.

The Damascus and Moscow governments denied they were behind the attack.

The Syrian military has denied responsibility. And the idea of even an indirect alliance with a Syrian government that is gassing its own people will be a hard sell with a US public appalled by the reams of footage of the six-year civil war's horror.

The senator says the attack "was a moment the president could have spoken with moral authority and with the beginning of an outline of a strategy".

The attack came a week after Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and United Nations envoy Nikki Haley said their focus was on defeating Islamic State in Syria rather than pushing Assad out.

  • Leroy Wright