Dozens killed in apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria, rescue workers say

Syrian doctors and rescue workers said Sunday that dozens of people had died in an apparent chemical attack on a besieged enclave near Damascus as government forces escalated their offensive to recapture the last rebel strongholds near the capital.

The attack, which killed at least 40 people in the city of Douma Saturday night, many of them choking and foaming at the mouth, appeared to force the start of a final withdrawal of hardline rebels from the most strategically important district to remain under opposition control. An agreement allowing them to pull out was announced by the Russian military command in Syria.

More than 500 people “were brought to local medical centers with symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent,” according to the Syrian-American Medical Society, a Washington-based nonprofit group that supports health facilities in the area. Footage from the area showed bodies strewn across the floor of an air raid shelter. Among them was a young man who appeared to have died foaming at the mouth and clutching his child.

Rescue workers at the scene said the smell of chlorine in the room had almost been overpowering. 

President Trump responded to the attack on his Twitter account Sunday, describing it as an

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