DAMASCUS, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government on Wednesday denied using chemical weapons in rebel-held areas in Damascus' eastern countryside, saying such accusations were part of a "dirty" media war against Syria.
Syria's Foreign Ministry said that the opposition's allegations were totally "lies," reiterating that "Even if we were in possession of such weapons, we would never use them."
For his part, Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi charged that the rebels resorted to accuse the Syrian army of using the chemical weapons against rebels due to their "depression" with the major advancement of the government forces.
"There is an ongoing military operation that has been progressive for days and the Syrian army troops are advancing, which pushed the rebels to resort to this issue out of depression and to coincide with the first day work of a UN chemical inspection team," the minister told the mainstream media, adding that the opposition want to deviate the UN team from its work.
Asked about photos published by the opposition activists on the alleged victims of the chemical attack, the minister said his government was not afraid of the probing mission and stressed confidence that the rebels were the ones who had initially used the chemical weapons in northern Syria.
Earlier on Wednesday, pro-opposition activists claimed that the government troops used chemical weapons in their attacks against rebel-held areas in the eastern countryside of the capital Damascus.
Activists' social networking pages posted photos of victims, including women and children, and alleged that those were killed due to the government troops' attack.
The activists claimed that hundreds of people were killed in the eastern Gouta and the western Muadamieh suburbs of the Syrian capital.
The accusation came after the UN mission arrived here to investigate possible use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict upon the request of the Syrian government.
The Syrian government welcomed the arrival of the UN inspectors on Sunday, pledging to cooperate with them and facilitate their work.
The United States and its allies have expressed fears that Syria's chemical weapons may "fall into the wrong hands" if the Syrian administration falls.
However, while Washington warns the Syrian forces' usage of chemical weapons would be "a red line," Damascus repeatedly stressed that "Even if we had such weapons, we would not use them, " and alleged the rebels might use chemical bombs against civilians to frame the government.