Syrian army denies allegations of chemical weapons use against militants
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The Syrian army has vehemently denied allegations by militants and opposition activists that it used chemical weapons against Takfiri militants near the capital. "Allegations of the use of chemical arms by the Syrian Arab Army today in areas of Damascus province ... are null, void and totally unfounded," the military said in a statement read out by an officer on state television on Wednesday. The Syrian army also described the allegations as part of the ongoing media war against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. "These allegations by the terrorist groups and the satellite channels that support them are just a desperate bid to conceal their failures on the battlefield and reflect the state of hysteria and collapse that these (militant) groups are in," the statement added. Opposition activists claimed on Wednesday that hundreds were killed after government forces used chemical weapons against militants on the outskirts of Damascus. Head of Syria's opposition National Coalition George Sabra told reporters in Istanbul that more than 1,300 people were killed in the alleged chemical attack. Videos posted online by the opposition show lifeless bodies, mostly with no visible signs of injury. Press TV could not independently verify where or when the videos were recorded. The Syrian government says the allegations are aimed at distracting a visiting team of UN chemical weapons experts from carrying out their duty. The head of the inspection mission, Ake Sellstrom, has said that the alleged attack should be investigated. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the violence.