Three Killed, 16 Wounded in Syrian Army Gas Attack, Rights Group Says

Witnesses say two gas bombs dropped on Aleppo from an army helicopter; Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says woman and two children killed; another airstrike kills 12 civilians in Idlib province, the group adds.

A woman and two children were killed and 16 people wounded in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Saturday in what an anti-government violence monitoring group said was a gas attack by Syrian government forces.

Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, cited witnesses as saying that two gas bombs had been dropped from an army helicopter.

Doctors in the town of Afrin, where the injured were taken, told the Observatory that victims had "hallucinated, vomited, had excess mucus and felt their eyes were burning."

Reuters cannot verify such reports from Syria due to severe reporting and security restrictions.

A team of United Nations-led experts is waiting in Cyprus for the go-ahead to investigate three previous allegations of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, including one the government said was a poison attack by rebels in Aleppo last month.

The government of President Bashar Assad has rejected demands by the opposition that the inspectors be sent to investigate cases in Homs and Damascus where rebels say government forces used chemical munitions.

Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud district, where the two bombs were dropped on Saturday, is controlled by rebels. The Observatory distributed photos taken by opposition activists of remnants of what it said were the bombs.

It also sent photos of a dead woman and two children, who it said were both under two years old. None of the three had any visible injuries.

Twelve killed in Idlib

Another airstrike by the Syrian army killed at least 12 people on Saturday, shattering store fronts, setting cars ablaze and sending a giant plume of black and gray smoke over the horizon in the town of Saraqeb in Idlib province, according to another Observatory report.

The group said four of the 12 people killed in the attack were members of the same family. Many others were wounded and the death toll was expected to rise.

Meanwhile, several Syrian artillery shells exploded in northern Lebanon Saturday as battles raged between Syrian opposition fighters and government troops over control of a strategic supply route.

At least three shells fired from inside Syria fell on Lebanon's eastern area of Hermel, a police report said. The shelling caused no casualties, but it hit the electricity network in the area, Lebanon's official National Agency said.

About 70,000 people have been killed in an uprising against four decades of Assad family rule that turned into a civil war after Assad's forces suppressed protests and opposition members took up arms. Both sides have been accused by rights groups of war crimes