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UN chief says suspected chemical attack shows 'war crimes' in Syria

AFP , Wednesday 5 Apr 2017
Khan Sheikhoun
This frame grab from video provided on Tuesday April 4, 2017, by Qasioun News Agency, that is consistent with independent AP reporting, shows a Syrian man carrying a man on his back who has suffered from a suspected chemical attack, in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, northern Idlib province, Syria. The suspected chemical attack killed dozens of people on Tuesday, Syrian opposition activists said, describing the attack as among the worst in the country's six-year civil war. (Qasioun News Agency, via AP)
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A suspected chemical weapons attack which left more than 70 dead in a rebel-held town shows war crimes continue in Syria, UN chief Antonio Guterres said Wednesday.

"The horrific events of yesterday demonstrate unfortunately that war crimes are going on in Syria (and that) international humanitarian law is being violated frequently," Guterres said as he went into a Syria aid conference in Brussels.

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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