What's happening in Douma?

Last updated at 13:30
Douma in SyriaAFP/Getty Images
There has been a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma

The war in Syria is in the news following a suspected chemical weapons attack, in which at least 70 people have died.

The attack took place in a town called Douma, which is in Syria's region of Eastern Ghouta. The town is under the control of people who are against the government.

It is thought that the number of people who lose their lives as a result of the attack could rise, as it is difficult to know exact figures.

If you slide the arrow along this picture, you can see how much an area called Jobar in Eastern Ghouta has been destroyed since the war began.

Interactive See how Jobar, Eastern Ghouta, has been destroyed

February 2018

Satellite image shows many buildings have been destroyed in the residential neighbourhood of Jowbar

August 2013

Satellite image shows part of the residential neighbourhood of Jowbar in 2013

Syria has dismissed the reports as being made-up, saying that the chemical attack is a "fabrication" - as has its main ally, Russia.

But the US has said that Russia, with its support for the Syrian government, "ultimately bears responsibility" for the alleged attacks.

The Syrian government has repeatedly denied ever having used chemical weapons.

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What are chemical weapons? (April 2017)

There is an international law which bans countries from using chemical weapons in wars, as they are deemed too cruel to use on other people.

But there are reports of them having being used during the Syrian war.

How has the world reacted?

The situation is being discussed on Monday by the UN Security Council - a group of countries that work together to try to bring peace - and the European Union has called for an "immediate response by the international community".

On Sunday, US President Donald Trump said on social media that there would be a "big price to pay" for the attack in Douma and called Syria's president an "animal".

In April 2017, more than 80 people died in a chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun - another Syrian town held by anti-government forces.

A joint inquiry by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found that the Syrian government was responsible.

US President Donald TrumpAFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump said on social media that there would be a 'big price to pay' for the attack in Douma

In response, President Trump ordered a missile attack on a Syrian air base. When asked if the US would respond in a similar way to this latest alleged chemical attack, White House adviser Tom Bossert told ABC television: "I wouldn't take anything off the table."

French President Emmanuel Macron has also threatened to strike Syria if the government uses chemical weapons against ordinary people.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that those responsible "must be held to account".

What now?

It is difficult to know exactly what has happened or to investigate the situation because it is hard to get to the area, as there is still a lot of fighting going on.

Pro-government fighters reached a deal with the rebels controlling Douma in order to start evacuating people from the area.

Buses carrying rebels and their families who have left DoumaReuters
Buses are seen carrying rebels and their families who have left Douma

Buses have been seen entering the town to pick up rebels and their families.

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