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The Latest: Pope Francis Calls Syria Attack 'unacceptable'

The Latest: Pope Francis Calls Syria Attack 'unacceptable'

Wednesday, 05 April 2017 05:42 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the suspected chemical attack in Syria, the deadliest in years (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Pope Francis has called a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens, including many children, in Syria "an unacceptable massacre."

The pope said Wednesday during his general audience that he was "watching with horror at the latest events in Syria," and said he "strongly deplored the unacceptable massacre."

He called on the "conscious of those with political responsibility both locally and internationally to cease this tragedy and bring relief to that dear population that for too long has been exhausted by war."

He also encouraged those bringing aid to the stricken population "even amid insecurity and discomfort."

12 p.m.

NATO's chief is condemning the chemical attack in northern Syria and calling for those responsible to be held to account.

Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement Wednesday that "this is the third report of the use of these barbaric weapons in the last month alone."

He recalled that the use of chemical weapons is prohibited and that "this international norm must be fully respected and upheld."

He said Syria "is responsible to ensure its full compliance with these obligations."

11:40 p.m.

Turkey's health minister says some 30 Syrians have been brought to the Turkish city of Gaziantep, bordering Syria, for treatment following a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Recep Akdag said Wednesday that initial symptoms and findings confirm that the wounded were the victims of a chemical attack. His comments were reported by the Haber Turk news channel.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 72 people died, including 11 children, in Tuesday's attack in a rebel-held town in northern Syria.

11:30 p.m.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri says people should not be shocked by the chemical attack that killed dozens in Syria because the international community is allowing such acts to happen.

Hariri said Wednesday that "the world should not be shocked because it's letting such a regime do what it is doing. What should shock us is the increase of children dying and that the whole world is watching."

He told reporters at a Syria donor conference in Belgium that "everyone is coming to Brussels to make a statement and the regime made its statement in Syria."

Hariri also said that Lebanon has been overwhelmed by the arrival of some 1.5 million Syrian refugees and "cannot sustain this issue anymore. The international community has to do something."

11:20

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has called on Russia to endorse a planned United Nations Security Council resolution condemning a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Gabriel said Wednesday in Brussels before the opening of the international conference on the Syria conflict that, "We appeal to Russia to approve this resolution, to investigate this case and to bring to justice those who are responsible."

The U.N. Security Council is to convene for an emergency meeting over a suspected deadly chemical attack in a town in northern Syria earlier this week, where at least 72 people were reported killed, including 11 children.

Nearly 400,000 people have been killed and half of Syria's population has been displaced by the six-year conflict.

11:10 a.m.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres says the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria the day before is a "moment of truth" that must be investigated.

Hs remarks came as a Syrian monitoring group said the death toll from the attack on a northern town the previous day has increased to 72 and activists reported renewed airstrikes on the same town.

Guterres told reporters at a Syria donor conference in Brussels on Wednesday that he hopes "this moment will be able to mobilize the capacity of all those that have responsibilities in this situation."

He says "the horrific events of yesterday demonstrate that unfortunately war crimes are going on in Syria, that international humanitarian law remains being violated frequently."

He added he is "confident that the Security Council will live up to its responsibilities," with major powers set to convene there later in the day.

9:50 a.m.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says that "all the evidence" he had seen so far in the latest chemical weapons attack in Syria "suggests this was the Assad regime who did it in the full knowledge that they were using illegal weapons in a barbaric attack on their own people."

Johnson also says that he does "not see how a government like that can continue to have any kind of legitimate administration over the people of Syria."

He added that he "would like to see those culpable pay a price for this."

Johnson spoke on Wednesday at the start of a Brussels pledging conference for Syria, where the United Nations, EU and world financial institutions have begun technical work to figure out what will be needed to rebuild war-ravaged Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 58 people died, including 11 children, in Tuesday's chemical weapons attack in a rebel-held town in northern Syria.

8:10 a.m.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says his government condemns in the strongest possible terms the chemical weapons attack against civilians, including children, at Khan Sheikhoun.

He said in a statement Wednesday that the use of chemical weapons is "illegal and abhorrent."

He said, "While the full facts are still to be determined, if the Assad regime is responsible for this attack those who approved and deployed these weapons must be held accountable."

4 a.m.

The Russian Defense Ministry says a rebel-held town in northern Syria has been exposed to toxic agents from a rebel arsenal hit by a Syrian air strike.

The ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said in a statement early Wednesday that the Russian military assets registered a Syrian air force strike Tuesday on weapons depots and ammunition factory on the eastern outskirts of the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Konashenkov said chemical weapons produced by the factory were used in Iraq.

He added that the same type of chemical weapons had been previously used by the rebels in Aleppo, where they had caused symptoms similar to those seen in images from Khan Sheikhoun.

Konashenkov said that Russia had provided relevant ground samples from Aleppo to the international chemical weapons watchdog.

The Russian statement follows an international outcry over what was described as a chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 58 people died, including 11 children.

Both Russia and Syria both have denied launching the chemical attack.

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The Latest on the suspected chemical attack in Syria, the deadliest in years (all times local):12:20 p.m.Pope Francis has called a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed dozens, including many children, in Syria "an unacceptable massacre."The pope said Wednesday...
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Wednesday, 05 April 2017 05:42 AM
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