France seeks UN probe of Syria gas attack claim

Associated Press
This citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian man receiving treatment, in Arbeen town, Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. Syrian regime forces fired intense artillery and rocket barrages Wednesday on the eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus, in what two pro-opposition groups claimed was a "poisonous gas" attack that killed dozens of people. (AP Photo/Local Committee of Arbeen)
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This citizen journalism image provided by the Local Committee of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian man receiving treatment, in Arbeen town, Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. Syrian regime forces fired intense artillery and rocket barrages Wednesday on the eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus, in what two pro-opposition groups claimed was a "poisonous gas" attack that killed dozens of people. (AP Photo/Local Committee of Arbeen)

PARIS (AP) — The French president plans to ask the U.N. to visit the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus.

Syrian opposition groups claimed at least 100 people died Wednesday in a government offensive near Damascus, attacks in which some activists say regime troops used "poisonous gas." The government denied the reports.

President Francois Hollande, speaking Wedensday at a regular Cabinet meeting, said the latest allegations "require verification and confirmation," said the government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

He would ask the UN to go to the site "to shed full light" on the allegations.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Swedish chemical weapons expert Ake Sellstrom, who is heading a U.N. team in Syria, says a formal request from a member state would have to come through the U.N. channels and Syria would need to agree.

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