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No chemicals found on Syrians refugees in Turkey

One of the 10 Syrians injured in an aerial bombardment in Syria's Idlib province and brought to Turkey late on Monday for treatment has lost his life but doctors have reported that there were no traces of chemicals on the victims. A pregnant Syrian woman and nine others, who were thought to have been affected by alleged chemical weapons, were brought to the southern province of Hatay to receive medical treatment after being injured in a heavy aerial bombardment by the Syrian regime in Idlib late on Monday, according to the Anatolia news agency. It was reported that the medical team at Hatay's Reyhanlı State Hospital wore chemical warfare suits and masks to protect themselves from the possible effects of toxic substances. The emergency unit was temporarily closed to patients as a precaution. Normal service resumed at the emergency unit after it was found that the Syrian victims did not pose a chemical threat. Allegations of chemical weapons use by Bashar al-Assad's regime were strengthened as the regime, which has lost control of large areas of northern and eastern Syria, has waged powerful ground offensives, backed by artillery and air strikes against opposition-held territory around the capital and near the central city of Homs.

The United States and Britain have recently said Assad's forces probably used chemical weapons as part of that counter-offensive.

Last week US officials said they had "varying degrees of confidence" that such weapons were used in Syria, which, if proven with certainty, could trigger unspecified actions against the Syrian government.

On Monday, President Barack Obama highlighted US concerns about Syrian chemical weapons in a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, according to a statement released by the White House.

"President Obama and President Putin reviewed the situation in Syria, with President Obama underscoring concern over Syrian chemical weapons," said the statement.

The two leaders agreed to stay in touch on the issue and that Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would continue discussions on Syria.

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