Syria's army flatly denied Wednesday allegations by the opposition and activists that it used chemical weapons to target opposition areas near Damascus.
"Allegations of the use of chemical arms by the Syrian Arab Army today in areas of Damascus province... are null, void and totally unfounded," the military said in a statement read out by an officer on state television.
"These allegations by the terrorist groups and the satellite channels that support them are just a desperate bid to conceal their failures on the battlefield and reflect the state of hysteria and collapse that these (rebel) groups are in," the statement added.
"The army will continue on its national mission, by facing terrorism across Syrian territory... to protect the nation from these armed terrorist groups," said the army, in reference to a bid by President Bashar al-Assad's regime to crush a 29-month rebellion.
Syria's opposition and activists accused the authorities of using chemical arms on Wednesday against rebel areas near Damascus, killing hundreds.