UPDATE 1 – At least 75 dead in chemical attack in Ghouta, Syria

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At least 75 people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in an apparent chemical attack in Ghouta near the Syrian capital, according to Al Jazeera and other reports.

The incident happened at about 8:20 p.m. local time on Saturday when airstrikes were carried out in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta near the capital Damascus. The exact circumstances of what happened were not immediately clear.

The White Helmets, which is a group of rescue volunteers, said a barrel bomb containing a chemical agent was dropped in the Douma area of Eastern Ghouta. It said dozens of people were killed, including many children.

Medical sources told Al Jazeera that at least 75 people were killed in the attack and up to 500 others may have been injured or sickened. Pro-rebel sources put the death toll as high as 100 with as many as 1,000 injured.

Photos spread on social media showed dead people, including children, who appeared to be suffering from symptoms consistent with a chemical attack. It was not possible to independently confirm the authenticity of the photos.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain and uses a network of contacts to track casualties, reported that a number of people had “suffocated” after the attack. It said at least 5 children are among those killed.

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