The Syrian government accused rebels of using chemical weapons Saturday and warned the United States not to launch any military action against Damascus over a purported chemical attack last week, saying such a move would set the Middle East ablaze.
The accusations by the regime of President Bashar Assad against opposition forces came as an international aid group said it has tallied 355 deaths from a purported chemical-weapons attack Wednesday in a suburb of the Syrian capital.
Syria is intertwined in alliances with Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas and Palestinian militant groups. The country also borders its longtime foe and U.S. ally Israel, making the fallout from military action unpredictable.
Violence in Syria already has spilled over the past year into Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and the Israeli- occupied Golan Heights. Hezbollah fighters have joined the combat alongside Assad’s forces.
U.S. naval units are moving closer to Syria as President Barack Obama considers a military response.