Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoabi said the country's armed forces would never use internationally banned weapons, after the government and rebels traded blame for what both sides said was a chemical weapon attack near Aleppo.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that it would send medical supplies to the Syrian city of Aleppo tomorrow, but could not verify if chemical weapons or some other toxin had been used there.
"At this stage we cannot confirm the use of chemical weapons, nor what agent, if any, was used," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters in Geneva. "Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning WHO will send medical supplies (for trauma cases) to Aleppo from its prepositioned stocks in Tartous."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the director general of the independent Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said they were deeply concerned about the alleged used of chemical weapons in Syria.
Ban's office said in a statement:
The Secretary-General remains convinced that the use of chemical weapons by any party under any circumstances would constitute an outrageous crime.
The OPCW is a Hague-based body charged with overseeing the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Malcolm Chalmers, research director at Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), says the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “game changer”.
“If indeed there is confirmation of chemical weapon use, then we would move much closer to some sort of American military intervention,” he said.
He added: “Both the regime and the rebels have said that chemical weapons have been used…
“Both the [US] President and the Secretary of State Clinton have made it clear that such use would be unacceptable and it would lead to unspecified consequences – but it’s pretty clear those consequences would be military.”