TODAY   |  May 08, 2013

Investigating Syrian rebels’ chem weapons claims

NBC’s Richard Engel heads inside Syria to investigate claims by Syrian rebels that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons and takes a look at what rebels claim is video evidence.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> to the middle east where richard engel has just been inside syria investigating rebel claims that the assad regime may have used chemical weapons . he's just across the border in antakya, turkey, richard, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, natalie. there have been so many claims of chemical weapons used by the regime or the rebels. we decided to go inside syria and investigate what evidence the opposition has or thinks it has to back up its case. with an escort from the free syrian army we returned to syria , driven across the border from turkey to visit a rebel headquarters nearby. the goal was to see what the rebels claim is evidence of chemical weapons use by the assad regime. this young man, maad barish is an activist he says he filmed an attack in a village april 29th . his video is disturbing to watch. several victims appear to be choking, struggling to breathe. among the injured is a 50-year-old woman, miriam al hatib slipping in and out of consciousness and this was the cause, rebels claim, a trail of smoke from a device dropped from a government helicopter. the rebels provided us with two photographs of devices, this one experts say strongly resembles an indian-made burning type riot controlled grenade a kind of tier gas, not sarin. we visited the syrian hospital where the woman was taken. dr. kandil treated her personally and took photographs. "the patient was unconscious, sweating, white liquid at the mouth, struggling to breathe and had small pupils." hospital staff showed us urine and blood samples they say they took from al hatib. al hatib died the same day of the incident. rebels claim this was a chemical weapons attack, smoke dropped from a helicopter killed al hatib and made others sick. experts we've spoken to have been skeptical it was sarin or a similar chemical weapon .

>> richard engel in antakya, turkey, thank you.