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BBC, LE MONDE(France), RUSSIA TODAY, SANA(Syria)

Worldcrunch

NEW YORK — Calling this week’s alleged chemical attack in Syria “a serious escalation with grave humanitarian consequences,” United Nations Deputy Chief Jan Eliasson called an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council Wednesday and urged an investigation “as soon as possible,” Russia Today reports.

Eliasson also said that U.N. investigators would require authorization from the Syrian government to access the area, though “the security situation right now does not allow such access.”

French Foreign Secretary Laurent Fabius said Thursday morning there needed to be “a reaction of force” from the international community if the allegations were proven to be true, but he ruled out a military intervention, Le Monde reports.

Opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claim that more than 1,000 people were killed after government forces attacked rebel-held areas near Damascus with toxic agents. The Syrian government denied the allegations, calling them “illogical and fabricated.”

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner described the timing of the supposed attack as “odd, bordering on suspicious.” He asked, “Why would the Assad government, which has recently been retaking ground from the rebels, carry out a chemical attack while U.N. weapons inspectors are in the country?”

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Azaz, Syria, after aerial bombings (Wikipedia)

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