BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syria called on the United Nations on Sunday to condemn its rebel foes after an apparent attack with unidentified chemicals in the city of Aleppo sent scores of choking victims to hospitals.
Medics reported a flood of patients with breathing troubles, inflamed eyes and other symptoms after a shelling attack on Saturday that Syrian and Russian officials blamed on the rebels.
The Syrian state news service, SANA, said that more than 100 people had been affected by the attack, although it reported no deaths. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in Britain, released slightly lower numbers. A spokesman for Russia’s Ministry of Defense said 46 people, including eight children, had been exposed to chemicals.
It was not immediately clear who had launched the attack on Saturday or what substance was used. Syria’s dwindling rebel movement is a patchwork of factions with no central command. A few rebel groups denied the government’s accusations.
“We cannot know the kinds of gases, but we suspected chlorine and treated patients on this basis because of the symptoms,” Zaher Batal, the head of the Aleppo Doctors Syndicate, told Reuters.
None of Syria’s rebel groups are known to possess powerful nerve agents like sarin, but they could have dosed conventional weapons with substances like chlorine to give their explosions a chemical punch.
Chemical weapons have been used throughout the seven-year war in Syria, with the government of President Bashar al-Assad launching the most deadly attacks on rebel enclaves with chemicals like sarin and chlorine. Insurgents are believed to have used chemicals as weapons in smaller attacks on government-held areas.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry urged the United Nations Security Council on Sunday to condemn what it called “terrorist crimes” and to take “deterrent, punitive measures against the nations and regimes that support and fund terrorism.”
Russia, which has sent troops and military advisers to support Mr. Assad, also blamed rebels for the attack.
The spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Gen. Igor Konashenkov, told journalists in Moscow on Sunday that the military’s preliminary assessment was that rebels in neighboring Idlib Province had fired shells filled with chlorine.
General Konashenkov said the Russian military had sent chemists to the site of the attack in Aleppo to investigate an artillery strike that released a “poisonous substance.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said warplanes struck rebel territory in northwestern Syria on Sunday, the first time since Russia and Turkey agreed to create a buffer zone in September.
The group said the airstrikes hit the suburbs west of Aleppo city, near Idlib, Reuters said.