DAMASCUS, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Some Syrian soldiers on Saturday suffered suffocation after rebel militants released chemical substance around their hideouts near the capital Damascus, the state-TV reported.
Earlier in the day, the soldiers were suffocated while entering the rebels-held suburb of Jobar, the state TV said, adding that some of them are in critical conditions.
The report said that the army had besieged the area and started to push into the area, but the rebels surprised them by releasing chemical substances amid heavy clashes.
The government and the opposition have repeatedly accused each other of using chemical gases during the country's 29-month-old crisis.
The incident came a couple of days after the rebels accused the government troops of using sarin agent against the rebellious countryside of Eastern al-Ghouta near Damascus. But the government denied the accusation, saying the incident only plays in the hand of the rebels to draw in their long-dreamed foreign intervention in Syria.
Also on Saturday, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, arrived in Damascus to press for expanding the mission of the UN chemical weapon investigation team.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called on the Syrian government to allow the UN inspectors, who are already on ground in Syria, to have access to the Eastern al-Ghouta countryside.
The UN inspection team is in Syria to investigate previous claims of chemical weapons use in the northern Khan al-Assal town and two other undisclosed locations.
The team arrived upon the call of the Syrian government whose leaders have accused the Western-backed rebels of using chemical substances in attacking pro-government areas in Khan al-Assal.
Iran's president condemns use of chemical weapons in Syria
TEHRAN, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday strongly condemned the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria recently, official IRNA news agency reported.
Expressing regret over the huge death and injury tolls of innocent people in the alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria, Rouhani said that Iran, as a victim of chemical weapons, urges the international community to take practical actions against the use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world.Full story
Brazil rejects military solution to Syria conflict
BRASILIA, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian government reaffirmed Friday its position on the Syrian situation, saying "there is no military solution to the conflict."
President Dilma Rousseff called upon the international community to make efforts to end violence in Syria, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.Full story
Int'l community calls for immediate UN action on Syria incident
DAMASCUS, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that he intends to conduct a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces in an attack on the outskirts of Damascus on Wednesday.
The statement made by UN spokesman has won extensive support of the international community, which urges the UN to take immediate actions to probe the incident. Full story