DAMASCUS, Syria - The Syrian government is accusing rebels of using chemical weapons and is warning the United States not to launch any military action against Damascus over an alleged chemical attack last week, saying such a move would set the Middle East ablaze.
The regime of President Bashar Assad made the accusations against opposition forces at the same time an international aid group says it has tallied 355 deaths from a purported chemical weapons attack on Wednesday in a suburb of the Syrian capital.
Meanwhile, U.S. naval units are moving closer to Syria as President Barack Obama considers a possible military response.
U.S. defense officials say the Navy had sent a fourth warship armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea but without immediate orders for any missile launch into Syria. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss ship movements publicly.