Syria state media: Rebels used chemical weapons, killing 15

SANA news agency accuses Syrian opposition of using chemical weapons in an attack in the northern province of Aleppo, says majority of casualties civilians; reports come amid concerns over fate of Assad's chemical arsenal.

By REUTERS
March 19, 2013 12:12
MEMBERS OF A Syrian opposition group are seen on the front lines in Aleppo

Syrian opposition fighters 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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BEIRUT - Syria's state news agency accused rebels on Tuesday of using chemical weapons in an attack in the northern province of Aleppo which it said killed 15 people.

"Terrorists fired a rocket containing chemical substances in the Khan al-Assal area of rural Aleppo and initial reports indicate that around 15 people were killed, most of them civilians," SANA news agency said.

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It was not immediately possible to verify the report and SANA gave no further details. There was no immediate response from Syrian rebel forces.

President Bashar Assad, fighting a two-year uprising against his rule, is widely believed to have a chemical arsenal. Syrian officials have neither confirmed nor denied having a chemical weapons capability but have said that if it existed it would be used to defend against foreign aggression, not against Syrians.

Western nations have warned Damascus against any use of chemical weapons and have also expressed concern about stockpiles falling into the hands of militant groups.

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