Beirut, May 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Militants in Syria have used chemical weapons against civilians with the aim of discrediting forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, Syrian state-run TV said Tuesday.
“Terrorists gathered together residents of the city of Saraqib at the city’s southern gates and released a powder of unknown origin amongst them, causing asphyxiation, tremors and other breathing problems,” an official said.
Those injured by the chemicals had been taken to hospitals in Turkey to use the incident as the basis for accusing government forces of using chemical weapons, the official added.
Both sides in the two-year-old civil war in Syria have accused each other of using chemical weapons in recent months.
Damascus has refused to let UN chemical weapons inspectors enter the country.
The White House said in a letter to lawmakers last week that intelligence gathered by the US, with the help of opposition forces in Syria, shows “with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria”.
US President Barack Obama has called the use of chemical weapons in the conflict a “red line” for potential American intervention.