(REUTERS) — Britain has told the Syrian government that any use of chemical weapons would have “serious consequences”, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday, adding to a series of warnings from world powers.

Hague was talking after Syrian forces bombarded rebel districts near Damascus in a counter-attack aimed at stemming rebel gains around President Bashar al-Assad’s power base.

International concern over Syria’s intentions has been heightened by reports that its chemical weapons have been moved and could be prepared for use.

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