U.N., U.S. call for urgent probe of Syria chemical attack claim

Story highlights

NEW: U.S. military "continues to refine options" says a senior defense official

German minister says Russia, China blocked U.N. Security Council resolution

Syria is urged to give a U.N. chemical weapons inspection team access to the site

Al-Assad government says claims it used chemical weapons are "completely baseless"

CNN  — 

The United Nations and the United States are calling for an immediate investigation of Syrian activists’ claims that the Bashar al-Assad government used chemical weapons in an attack on civilians.

Anti-regime activist groups in Syria say more than 1,300 people were killed in the attack outside Damascus, many of them women and children. Video footage and witness reports appeared to bolster claims that chemical weapons were used.

President Barack Obama has directed the U.S. intelligence community to urgently gather additional information to try to assess whether chemical weapons were used Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday.

At this time, she said, the United States is unable to “conclusively determine” chemical weapons use, but is focused on trying to nail down the facts, along with its international partners.