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The report, Ban said at the U.N. on Monday, was “the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them” in Halabja, Iraq, in 1988, and “the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century.”

The U.N. inspectors report said surface-to-surface rockets loaded with the nerve agent sarin had been fired from an area where Syria’s military has bases, but said the evidence could have been manipulated in the rebel-controlled neighborhood that was struck.

The explosion at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey on Tuesday was not the first such attack. In February, a car bomb exploded at the border post, killing 14 people and narrowly missing 13 Syrian opposition figures who were crossing into Turkey. And in May, 43 people were killed when two car bombs exploded on Turkish side of the border.

In Idlib, activist Ahmad al-Khatib said the latest bombing wounded 19 people, both civilians and rebels who were manning a checkpoint. Rami Abdul-Rahman who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 15 people were wounded.

Earlier Tuesday, the Syrian military accused Turkey of seeking to escalate tensions along the border by shooting down a Syrian military helicopter there the day before.

The military said the helicopter was on a mission to monitor for cross-border infiltration of rebels when it “mistakenly” entered Turkish airspace.

Turkey’s deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc told reporters in Ankara on Monday that the aircraft was shot down by a fighter jet after it ignored repeated warnings to leave Turkish airspace.

The helicopter had strayed 2 kilometers (more than 1 mile) over Turkey but crashed inside Syria after being hit by missiles fired from the Turkish jet. Arinc said he did not have any information on the fate of the Syrian pilots.

The Observatory said rebel fighters captured one of the two crew members, while the fate of the other was unclear.

The Syrian military said the helicopter entered Turkish space “for a short distance” by mistake. “The hasty reaction from the Turkish side, particularly that the helicopter was heading back and was not on a fighting mission, reveals the real intentions” of Ankara to ramp up tensions, it said.

Turkey has been at odds with the Syrian government since early in the country’s civil war and has backed the Syrian rebels, while advocating international intervention in the conflict.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking in Paris after meetings about Syria with his counterparts from other countries, said Monday’s incident should send a message. “Nobody will dare to violate Turkey’s borders in any way again,” he said, according to Anatolia, the Turkish state-run news agency. “The necessary measures have been taken.”

Also Tuesday, Syrian government troops backed by Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters captured parts of the town of Chebaa, the Observatory said. The town lies just south of Damascus near the road leading to the city’s international airport. Members of the Lebanese militant group have been fighting alongside Assad’s forces in the conflict.

Chebaa is also close to the Sayida Zeinab shrine, a holy place for Shiites. Hezbollah’s leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has warned in the past that Sunni extremists were planning to blow up the golden-domed shrine.


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