Arab League says to meet on Syria chemical claims

CAIRO (AFP) - The Arab League will meet on Tuesday to discuss the use of chemical weapons in Syria that reportedly killed hundreds of people, the bloc's deputy chief Ahmed Ben Helli said.

Permanent delegates would gather at the League's Cairo headquarters for "urgent talks" to "study the horrible crime of the use of chemical weapons that killed hundreds of innocent people" in Syria, Ben Helli told reporters on Sunday.

Syria's main opposition group, the National Coalition, accuses regime forces of killing more than 1,300 people Wednesday in chemical weapons attacks on the outskirts of Damascus.

The Syrian government denies the accusations and counters that the rebels used chemicals, including on Saturday on soldiers who tried to storm an insurgent neighbourhood in Damascus.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists and medics inside Syria, said 322 people have died from exposure to poison gas since Wednesday, including 54 children.

Doctors Without Borders said 355 people died this week of "neurotoxic" symptoms but its president Mego Terzian told AFP that "scientific" proof was still lacking.