At least 45 dead in chemical attack in Ghouta, Syria

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At least 45 people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in an apparent chemical attack in Ghouta near the Syrian capital, according to Al Jazeera and other reports.

The incident happened on Saturday when airstrikes were carried out in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta near the capital Damascus. The exact circumstances of what happened were not immediately clear.

Al Jazeera, citing local sources, said a barrel bomb containing poisonous chemicals was dropped in Eastern Ghouta. It said at least 45 people were killed and as many as 500 others may have been injured or sickened.

Pro-rebel sources put the death toll as high as 75.

Photos spread on social media showed dead people, including children, who appeared to be suffering from symptoms consistent with a chemical attack. It was not possible to independently confirm the authenticity of the photos.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain and uses a network of contacts to track casualties, reported that a number of people had “suffocated” after the attack. It said at least 5 children are among those killed.

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