Chemical weapons are being used against children in war-torn Syria, it was claimed today.
Evidence of youngsters including babies being targeted includes pictures of them covered in horrific wounds.
Surgeons believe they were caused by nerve gases including one called Agent XV which has been unleashed by the Syrian Army.
The civil war in Syria shows now signs of abating, and there are now claims chemical weapons are being used in the conflict
Paris Match, the French weekly magazine, today publishes disturbing pictures of some of the victims, including a boy identified only by his first name of Omar.
The 13-year-old saw all his family wiped out in an attack on their home in the city of Homs two months ago, saying that they were hit by ‘A bomb like no other’ which caused ‘yellow smoke’.
Omar escaped, but has since suffered all the symptoms of a nerve gas attack, including soars, paralysed limbs, burns and blisters. He has since been evacuated to Libya, where he is undergoing specialist treatment.
Other pictures include one of the hideously deformed hands of Salim, a boy of 11 who was admitted to a Homs hospital in November 2011 suffering from horrific burns.
The French media, including Paris Match, today suggested that evidence of the gas attack means a ‘red line had been crossed’, and that western countries were duty bound to intervene in the civil war.
It follows William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, hinting that Britain could start arming rebel fighters in Syria within months.
Mr Hague warned this week warned that the conflict was becoming a ‘catastrophic’ humanitarian crisis.
He said that millions of pounds worth of armoured vehicles and body armour would be sent to Syrian rebels fighting to depose dictator Bashar al-Assad.
And he said Britain was ‘ready to move further’ if the fighting, which has already claimed 70,000 lives, continues to intensify.
As the number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria topped one million, Mr Hague said Britain believed Assad could use chemical weapons against his own people.
Testing equipment to provide evidence of any use of chemical weapons is also being sent.
Syria’s uprising began in March 2011 with protests against President Bashar Assad’s authoritarian rule.
When the government cracked down on demonstrators, the opposition took up arms and the conflict turned into a full-blown civil war.
The United Nations estimates that more than 70,000 people have been killed.
Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said yesterday the number of refugees has swelled dramatically this year, with most Syrians pouring into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
The war has escalated in recent months, and more than 400,000 of those people become refugees since the start of 2013.
Guterres said the refugees often arrive in neighbouring countries ‘traumatised, without possessions and having lost members of their families’.
Around half are children, the majority under the age of 11.