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IANS | Rome |

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano on Tuesday deplored the suspected chemical attack in northwestern Syria in which at least 58 people were killed and dozens injured, calling it "a crime against humanity".

"The news of a chemical attack against defenceless civilians in Syria and the bombing of hospitals where victims were receiving treatment is distressing," Alfano said, referring to Tuesday's attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun.

"Italy will be at the forefront criticism of the attack at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council requested by France and Britain," he went on. 

"And tomorrow (on Wednesday) during the international conference on Syria taking place in Brussels, it will lead condemnation of the use of weapons of mass destruction against the Syrian people and demand that those responsible for this crime against humanity are identified."

Britain-based The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that strikes on Khan Sheikhoun by Syrian government or Russian warplanes had caused many people to choke.

Later, aircraft fired rockets at local clinics treating survivors, medics and activists said.