Death toll rises to 72 in suspected Syria chemical attack

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Syrian children receive treatment following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province. (AFP)
Syrian children receive treatment following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province. (AFP)

Beirut – The death toll from a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Syrian town has risen to 72, 20 of them children, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.

"There were also 17 women among the dead and the death toll could rise further because there are people missing," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The UN Security Council was to meet later on Wednesday to debate a Western-drafted resolution condemning the air strike.

But Moscow, which holds a veto, defended its Damascus ally saying that while Syrian aircraft had carried out a strike, the chemicals were part of a "terrorist" stockpile of "toxic substances" that had been hit on the ground.

Rebel groups led by former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front vowed revenge for Tuesday's strike in the town of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province in the northwest.

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