Syrian regime: Rebels used chemical weapons

(CBS London News) - On Saturday, the international aid group Doctors without Borders said more than 3,000 people were hospitalized in Syria Wednesday with what it called "neuro-toxic" symptoms. About 355 of them died. Now both sides in the conflict are accusing each other of using chemical weapons to wage war.

Well aware of the power of video in the conflict, Syrian state TV broadcasted images Saturday of what the government claimed are chemical agents -- discovered by their soldiers in tunnels used by rebel forces in Damascus.

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The regime said this is evidence it's the Syrian opposition using chemical weapons, not them - though we can't be sure what's inside these small, plastic drums.

Syrian state TV broadcasted images on August 24, 2013, of what the government claimed are chemical agents -- discovered by their soldiers in tunnels used by rebel forces in Damascus. / CBS News

The government's claims follow international demands that the Syrian regime allow United Nations weapons inspectors to visit the scene of Wednesday's attack.

On Saturday morning, the U.N.'s High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, arrived in Damascus, upping the pressure.

In the aftermath of the alleged chemical weapons attack, some people showed signs of people foaming at the nose and mouth. / CBS News

Meanwhile, devastating new video emerged right after the alleged chemical strike. CBS News can't independently verify them, but they show people gasping for breath, foaming at the nose and mouth, and suffering from convulsions -- all symptoms typical of a chemical attack.

In a crowded makeshift morgue, a father is shown embracing his two young daughters -- both of them dead.

"Wake up, my sweethearts," he cried. "For God's sake, what did I do?"

And another image seems to show a family who never made it to hospital -- discovered dead in their own home -- but with no obvious injuries. It's all consistent with the use of a nerve agent.

But that can't be proven until the U.N. weapons inspectors are allowed in to test soil and tissue samples.

Until then, the outside world is left searching for answers about what really happened -- and weighing up what to do in response.


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