A suspected chemical attack in rebel-held northwestern Syria killed dozens of civilians including children and left many more sick and gasping, causing international outrage Wednesday. The attack on the town of Khan Sheikhun killed at least 58 civilians and saw dozens suffer respiratory problems and symptoms including vomiting, fainting and foaming at the mouth, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
Syria'sopposition blamed President Bashar al-Assad's forces, saying the attackcast doubt on the future of peace talks. The army denied any involvement in a statement blaming "terrorist groups" for using "chemical and toxic substances".
At least 19 children and 13 women were among the dead, the Observatory said, and an AFP correspondent in Khan Sheikhun saw many people on respirators.
If confirmed, it would be one of the worst chemical attacks since Syria's civil war began six years ago. It was the third claim of achemical attack in just over a week in Syria. The previous two were reported in Hama province, in an area not far from Khan Sheikhoun.
Oppositionactivists and a doctor in Idlib said it was the worst incident since the 2013 gas attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta that killed hundreds of civilians and which a UN investigation said used sarin gas.
Theincident brought swift international condemnation, with the United States, France and Britain presenting a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding a full investigation.