White House calls for U.N. probe of alleged Syria gas attack

WASHINGTON Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:17pm EDT

WASHINGTON Aug 21 (Reuters) - The White House expressed alarm on Wednesday about reports that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons in an attack on civilians and called for a United Nations investigation into the incident.

"The United States is deeply concerned by reports that hundreds of Syrian civilians have been killed in an attack by Syrian government forces, including by the use of chemical weapons, near Damascus earlier today," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

"We are formally requesting that the United Nations urgently investigate this new allegation. The U.N. investigative team, which is currently in Syria, is prepared to do so, and that is consistent with its purpose and mandate."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Jason Reed; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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