U.N. must investigate alleged gas attack in Syria: French minister

BRUSSELS Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:11am EDT

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United Nations' mission in Syria must immediately investigate an alleged chemical attack near the Syrian capital Damascus, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday.

"What France is asking is that this mission which is in place must investigate immediately," he told reporters on the sidelines of an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers convened to debate the situation in Egypt.

A Damascus opposition monitoring group said on Wednesday 494 people had been killed in a gas attack and shelling by President Bashar al-Assad's forces on Wednesday, citing data from medical centers in the Syrian capital.

(Reporting by Martin Santa; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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