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Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 16:55

Syria chemical attack death toll now 72, new strikes hit

By Agencies
Syria chemical attack death toll now 72, new strikes hit
This photo provided April 4, 2017 by the Syrian anti-government activist group Edlib Media Center, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian doctor treating a child following a suspected chemical attack, at a makeshift hospital, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria. (Edlib Media Center, via AP)

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS — A Syrian monitoring group says the death toll from a suspected chemical attack on a northern town the previous day has now increased to 72 as activists reported renewed airstrikes on the town hit in the harrowing assault.

Ahmed al-Sheikho, of the Idlib Civil Defense team, says the Wednesday airstrikes hit near where the suspected chemical attack occurred in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. He says the strikes did not cause any casualties because the area had been evacuated following Tuesday's attack.

The poisoning symptoms of the victims in Khan Sheikhoun shown on videos in social networks are the same as they were in autumn of the previous year in Aleppo

Igor Konoshenkov, Spokesman, Russian defense ministry

The UN Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting Wednesday on that attack, which activists say was one of the worst in the country's civil war.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 20 children and 17 women are among the 72 killed.

Russia's defense ministry said on Wednesday that a poisonous gas contamination in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun was the result of gas leaking from a rebel chemical weapons depot after it was hit by Syrian government air strikes.

"Yesterday, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm local time, Syrian aviation made a strike on a large terrorist ammunition depot and a concentration of military hardware in the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun town," Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konoshenkov said in a statement posted on YouTube. "On the territory of the depot there were workshops which produced chemical warfare munitions."

He said the chemical munitions had been used by rebels in Aleppo last year.

"The poisoning symptoms of the victims in Khan Sheikhoun shown on videos in social networks are the same as they were in autumn of the previous year in Aleppo," Konoshenkov said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on Tuesday, urged Russia and Iran to exercise influence on Syria to prevent further chemical attacks in the war-torn country.

"The United States strongly condemns the chemical weapons attack in Idlib province, the third allegation of the use of such weapons in the past month alone," the top US diplomat said in a statement.

Syria chemical attack death toll now 72, new strikes hit

SYRIA DENIES POSSESSION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS

Hours after Tuesday’s attack, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said that the Syrian army doesn't have any kind of chemical weapons.

In a statement on Tuesday, Syria’s foreign ministry blasted as completely baseless reports accusing the Syrian air force of carrying out the toxic gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in the country's northwestern province of Idlib earlier on Tuesday.

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