Last updated: March 19. 2013 8:38AM - 1285 Views
BRADLEY KLAPPER
Associated Press



In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, columns of smoke rise from heavy bombing by Syrian government forces in Arbeen, Syria, Monday March 18, 2013. Two years after the anti-Assad uprising began, the conflict has become a civil war, with hundreds of rebel group fighting Assad's forces across Syria and millions of people pushed from their homes by the violence. The U.N. says more than 70,000 people have been killed. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)
In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, columns of smoke rise from heavy bombing by Syrian government forces in Arbeen, Syria, Monday March 18, 2013. Two years after the anti-Assad uprising began, the conflict has become a civil war, with hundreds of rebel group fighting Assad's forces across Syria and millions of people pushed from their homes by the violence. The U.N. says more than 70,000 people have been killed. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video)
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UPDATED 11:06 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official is rejecting the claim of Bashar Assad regime's that Syrian rebels used chemical weapons.

The official says the U.S. has no evidence that either side used chemical weapons in the attack in northern Syria.

The official says the origin of the attack is still unclear.

But the official says the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, too, is reporting no independent information of chemical weapons use.

The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The rebels deny the Syrian government claim and blame regime forces for Tuesday's missile attack on the Khan al-Assad village.

But Russia's Foreign Ministry is supporting the assertion by Assad's government, calling rebel use of an unidentified chemical agent "extremely dangerous."

POSTED 8:38 AM

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria's information minister says a chemical weapon fired by rebels on a village in the north of the country is the “first act” by the opposition interim government announced in Istanbul.

Omran al-Zoubi says the missile containing “poisonous gases” was fired from Nairab district in Aleppo into Khan al-Assal village on Tuesday.

He says 16 people were killed and 86 wounded in the attack. He spoke to the pro-government Al-Ikhbariya TV station.

Omran also says the attack is the results of the decision by some in the international community to arm the Syrian opposition.

Rebels have denied the accusation and say regime forces fired the weapon.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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