Deadly gas attack in rebel-held Douma, in Syria's eastern Ghouta

The global chemical watchdog said Tuesday it will deploy a team to the site of an alleged toxic attack in Syria, as U.S. President Donald Trump weighed military action with Damascus on high alert.

Warnings from the U.S. leader there would be a “big price to pay” for the alleged attack have raised the specter of an American strike on Syria, setting up a potential confrontation with regime backer Russia.

Moscow, which has troops on the ground in Syria, has already warned that US military action would be “very, very dangerous”.

As it looked to head off the threat of Western strikes, Syria said it had invited the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to visit the site of the alleged attack. 

First responders in rebel-held Douma say more than 40 people died on Saturday after the suspected gas attack, which left victims wheezing, with discolored skin, and foaming at the mouth. (AFP)

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<p>In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a man receiving treatment at a hospital in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April. 7, 2018. (Photo: SANA via AP) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a man receiving treatment at a hospital in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April. 7, 2018. (Photo: SANA via AP)

<p>An affected Syrian kid receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 8, 2018. (Photo: Mouneb Taim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Deadly gas attack in rebel-held Douma, in Syria’s eastern Ghouta

An affected Syrian kid receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 8, 2018. (Photo: Mouneb Taim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

<p>A man is washed following alleged chemical weapons attack, in what is said to be Douma, Syria in this still image from video obtained by Reuters on April 8, 2018. (Photo: White Helmets/Reuters TV via Reuters) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

A man is washed following alleged chemical weapons attack, in what is said to be Douma, Syria in this still image from video obtained by Reuters on April 8, 2018. (Photo: White Helmets/Reuters TV via Reuters)

<p>An affected Syrian child receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Deadly gas attack in rebel-held Douma, in Syria’s eastern Ghouta

An affected Syrian child receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

<p>Affected Syrian kids wait to receive medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Fadi Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

Affected Syrian kids wait to receive medical treatment after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Fadi Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

<p>In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a man receiving treatment at a hospital in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April. 7, 2018. (Photo: SANA via AP) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a man receiving treatment at a hospital in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April. 7, 2018. (Photo: SANA via AP)

<p>A child is treated in a hospital in Douma, eastern Ghouta in Syria, after what a Syria medical relief group claims was a suspected chemical attack on April, 7, 2018. (Photo: White Helmets/Reuters TV via Reuters) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

A child is treated in a hospital in Douma, eastern Ghouta in Syria, after what a Syria medical relief group claims was a suspected chemical attack on April, 7, 2018. (Photo: White Helmets/Reuters TV via Reuters)

<p>This image released early Sunday, April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. (Photo: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

This image released early Sunday, April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. (Photo: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

<p>This image made from video released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a medical worker giving toddlers oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, Sunday, April 8, 2018. (Photo: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

This image made from video released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a medical worker giving toddlers oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, Sunday, April 8, 2018. (Photo: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

<p>This image made from video released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows medical workers treating toddlers following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, Sunday, April. 8, 2018. (Photo: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

This image made from video released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows medical workers treating toddlers following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, Sunday, April. 8, 2018. (Photo: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

<p>Smokes rise after Assad Regime forces carried out airstrikes in Eastern Ghouta’s Douma town in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

Smokes rise after Assad Regime forces carried out airstrikes in Eastern Ghouta’s Douma town in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

<p>Smoke rises after Assad Regime carried out an airstrike at Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Mouneb Taim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

Smoke rises after Assad Regime carried out an airstrike at Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Mouneb Taim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Deadly gas attack in rebel-held Douma, in Syria's eastern Ghouta
<p>A dead body of a Syrian kid is seen after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: White Helmets/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

A dead body of a Syrian kid is seen after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Duma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: White Helmets/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

<p>Dead bodies of Syrian kids are seen after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 8, 2018. (Photo: Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

Dead bodies of Syrian kids are seen after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 8, 2018. (Photo: Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

<p>Dead bodies of a Syrian family are seen after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma, eastern Ghouta, Syria

Dead bodies of a Syrian family are seen after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

<p>Bodies of victims of alleged chemical attack lie on the ground in rebels-held Douma, Syria, April 8, 2018. According to media and local reports, at least 70 people died after a helicopter dropped a barrel bomb allegedly containing Sarin gas, a nerve toxin that kills within minutes of direct inhalation unless treated quickly with an antidote. Locals claim that the helicopter allegedly belongs to forces loyal to the Syrian government, while both Syria and Russia denied using chemical weapons and called the attack a fabrication by Jayesh al-Islam (the military ruler of Douma) in an attempt to hinder the Syrian Arab Army advancement, according to a report on the Syrian Arab News Agency, the Syrian Government’s official news agency. (Photo: Emad Aldin/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

Bodies of victims of alleged chemical attack lie on the ground in rebels-held Douma, Syria, April 8, 2018. According to media and local reports, at least 70 people died after a helicopter dropped a barrel bomb allegedly containing Sarin gas, a nerve toxin that kills within minutes of direct inhalation unless treated quickly with an antidote. Locals claim that the helicopter allegedly belongs to forces loyal to the Syrian government, while both Syria and Russia denied using chemical weapons and called the attack a fabrication by Jayesh al-Islam (the military ruler of Douma) in an attempt to hinder the Syrian Arab Army advancement, according to a report on the Syrian Arab News Agency, the Syrian Government’s official news agency. (Photo: Emad Aldin/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

<p>Dead bodies of Syrian kids are seen after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 8, 2018. (Photo: Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma

Dead bodies of Syrian kids are seen after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 8, 2018. (Photo: Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

<p>Dead body of a Syrian boy is seen after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) </p>
Deadly gas attack in Douma, eastern Ghouta, Syria

Dead body of a Syrian boy is seen after Assad regime forces allegedly conducted poisonous gas attack to Douma town of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria on April 7, 2018. (Photo: Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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