Aug. 26 - U.N. experts head to the scene of an alleged poison gas attack in the outskirts of Damascus as Western allies weigh up their response and President Bashar al-Assad denies involvement. Sunita Rappai reports.
WARNING: CONTAINS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC IMAGES U.N. inspectors leave their Damascus hotel en route to the scene of last week's suspected poison attack on the outskirts of the Syrian capital. Syria agreed on Sunday to allow the United Nations to visit the site in eastern Ghouta - though Western allies said recent government shelling in the area had destroyed vital evidence. Activists accuse Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces of launching rockets loaded with poison gas which killed between 500 and over 1,000 people last Wednesday. This footage which cannot be verified by Reuters appears to show a room filled with bodies, many of them children as well as some women and elderly men. French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius said on Monday the attack had clearly originated from Assad's regime. He warned there would be a proportionate reaction to what he called a 'chemical massacre' that will be determined in the next few days. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that if the use of chemical weapons by Assad's government proved to be true, Germany would join those calling for consequences. In an interview with a Russian newspaper published on Monday, however, Assad dismissed the accusations as 'nonsense' and 'unsubstantiated', and warned the U.S. not to intervene. Washington is facing growing calls for action in response to the attack, which may be the world's worst poison gas strike in 25 years.