A suspected chemical attack reportedly killed scores of civilians, including no fewer than 5 children, in Syria on Saturday.
A Syrian rebel group accused government forces of dropping a barrel bomb containing poisonous chemicals on civilians in eastern Ghouta, with one rescue group reporting more than 150 deaths.
Syrian state media denied government forces had launched any chemical attack and said rebels in the eastern Ghouta town of Douma were in a state of collapse and spreading false news.
Disturbing photos emerged showing dead children foaming from the mouth, the hallmarks of a chemical attack such as chlorine or sarin.
The White Helmets civil defence workers said more than 150 were killed and more than 1,000 being treated for exposure to chemical weapons.
“Entire families in shelters gassed to death in #Douma #EastGhouta hiding in their cellars, suffocated from the poisonous gas,” it said on Twitter.
On Saturday evening, the US State Department said it was monitoring the “very disturbing” reports and that Russia should be blamed if chemicals were used.
The attack comes a week after US President Donald Trump said he wanted the US presence in Syria to end “very soon”.