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French FM: all indications Syria behind chemical attack

Published: Updated:

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Saturday that all indications show that Syria’s government was behind a “chemical massacre” near Damascus that the opposition claims killed hundreds.

“All the information at our disposal converges to indicate that there was a chemical massacre near Damascus and that the Bashar regime is responsible,” Fabius said on a visit to Ramallah in the West Bank.

Opponents of Bashar al-Assad said the president’s forces killed 1,300 people when they unleased chemical weapons east and southwest of Damascus in the attacks on Wednesday.

U.N. Under Secretary General Angela Kane arrived in the Syrian capital on Saturday for talks aimed at establishing the terms of an enquiry into the alleged attacks, an AFP journalist said.

“We ask that the U.N. team that is there can be deployed very quickly and make the necessary inspections,” Fabius said.

“The information which we have shows that this chemical massacre is of such gravity that it obviously cannot pass without a strong reaction,” he added.

The Syrian government has strongly denied accusations it carried out the attacks, but so far it has not said whether it will let U.N. inspectors visit the sites.

Fabius arrived early Saturday on a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories aimed at encouraging recently resumed peace talks, his office said.