Turkey urges U.N. inspectors to investigate Syria gas attack report

ISTANBUL Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:24am EDT

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey called on U.N. inspectors to look into Syrian rebel reports that almost 500 people were killed on Wednesday in a gas attack and shelling by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, and said it was monitoring the situation "with great concern".

"Light must immediately be shed on these claims and the United Nations mission that was formed to investigate chemical weapons claims in Syria should look into these claims and reveal its findings," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"If these allegations are found to be true, it will be inevitable for the international community to take the necessary stance and give the necessary response to this savagery and crime against humanity," it said.

Ankara, once an Assad ally but now one of his fiercest critics, has long been concerned about the possible use of Syrian chemical weapons against its own people.

Turkey began stepping up tests on casualties arriving from Syria for treatment earlier this year to determine whether they were victims of a chemical weapons attack, but no details have been released publicly on the results of those tests.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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