DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria's government and rebels traded accusations of a chemical attack Tuesday on a northern village near Aleppo. However, a U.S. official said there was no evidence of any such attack.
The regime, whose allegation was backed by ally Russia, said 25 people were killed.
The reports could not be independently verified because of tight media restrictions, particularly in government-controlled areas which are virtually shut to all foreign media and outside observers.
But if confirmed, it would be the first known use of chemical weapons in the 2-year-old civil war and a glimpse of one of the nightmare scenarios for this conflict.
The accusations emerged only a few hours after the opposition to President Bashar Assad elected a prime minister to head an interim government that would rule areas seized by rebel forces from the regime.
The Syrian regime said at least 25 people were killed and 86 wounded, some in critical condition, in the missile attack on the village of Khan al-Assal near the city of Aleppo.
State-run news agency SANA published pictures showing casualties, including children, on stretchers in what appears to be a hospital ward. None showed signs of physical injuries.
Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi called it the "first act" of the newly announced opposition interim government.
Rebels quickly denied the report and accused regime forces of firing the chemical weapon.
The head of Syria's main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, said the group was still investigating the alleged chemical attack near Aleppo.