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US investigating reported chlorine chemical attack against Syrian opposition groups

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. is looking into whether a toxic chemical was deployed in areas of Syria that are controlled by rebel forces seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd).

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki (SAH'-kee) said Monday the chemical was likely chlorine, if it was used.

She said officials were still trying to determine what happened in the village of Kafr Zita, but that the U.S. takes allegations about chemicals used in combat very seriously.

On Sunday, French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH' oh-LAWND') told Europe 1 radio station that he had "several elements" suggesting recent use of chemical weapons in Syria, but no definitive proof.

Psaki said the U.S. was working with the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to get more details.

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