Suspected 'Toxic gas attack' kills at least 58 people in Syria
|The body of a child after a reported gas attack on Tuesday in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province. Credit Ammar Abdullah/Reuters|
World leaders expressed shock and outrage Wednesday by reports of a suspected chemical attack in northwestern Syria that killed scores of civilians, with one UK official suggesting the incident amounted to a war crime.
Activists said the Syrian regime was responsible for the killings of at least 70 people -- 10 children among the dead -- leading the United Nations to replace a scheduled Security Council session for Wednesday morning with an emergency meeting.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military denied using chemical weapons and blamed rebels for the carnage. Russia, Syria's strong ally, said it had no warplanes in the vicinity.
But from Washington to London to Jerusalem, leaders denounced the reported airstrike, which if proven true would be one of the deadliest chemical attacks in Syria in years.
"Today's chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world," US President Donald Trump said, adding that he thinks the attacks was a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution. "President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a 'red line' against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing."
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, speaking at a news conference with his German counterpart, had harsh criticism of the Syrian government.
"If this were to be proved to have been committed by the Assad regime then it would be another reason to think they are an absolutely heinous outfit, that is, it is a war crime," he said.