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Death toll in Syria ‘gas attack’ rises to 58

A suspected gas attack, believed to be by Syrian government jets, killed at least 58 people including 11 children under the age of eight in the northwestern province of Idlib on Tuesday, a war monitor and medical workers said.

A Syrian military source strongly denied the army had used any such weapons.

The attack caused many people to choke or faint, and some had foam coming out of their mouths, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, citing medical sources who described it as a sign of a gas attack.

The air strikes on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, in the south of rebel-held Idlib, also wounded more than 60 people, said the Observatory, a British-based war monitoring group.

Mounzer Khalil, head of Idlib`s health authority, said the attack had killed more than 50 people and wounded 300.

Activists in northern Syria circulated pictures on social media showing a reported victim with foam around his mouth, and rescue workers hosing down almost naked children squirming on the floor.

The Syrian military source denied allegations that government forces had used chemical weapons, dismissing the accounts as rebel propaganda.

The Army “has not and does not use them, not in the past and not in the future, because it does not have them in the first place,” the source said.

A joint inquiry for the United Nations and the global chemical weapons watchdog has previously accused government forces of toxic gas attacks.

Damascus has repeatedly denied using such weapons during the six-year-old war, which has killed hundreds of thousands and created the world`s worst refugee crisis.

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