BBC News - 22 August 2013
UN officials say alleged chemical weapons attacks which Syria's opposition says killed hundreds near Damascus were a "serious escalation".
Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson made the comments after briefing an emergency UN Security Council meeting about Wednesday's incident.
The Security Council also said that clarity was needed over the attacks.
Some 35 member states called for UN weapons inspectors already in Syria to be dispatched immediately to the scene.
Opposition activists said that more than 1,000 people were killed after government forces launched rockets with toxic agents into the Damascus suburbs in the Ghouta region early on Wednesday.
The Syrian government has denied the allegations, describing them as "illogical and fabricated". The Syrian army said the opposition made up the claims to divert attention from the huge losses its forces had suffered recently.
The BBC has been unable to independently confirm the death toll.
Photo: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Obama. It is a public secret that Ban Ki-moon, who has been posted twice to the Republic of Korea embassy in Washington, D.C. and served as Director-General for American Affairs in 1990–1992, is a very good personal friend of president Obama.