(Reuters) One of the most precise and dramatic details cited by the Obama administration as proof that Syrian forces used chemical weapons in an August 21 attack was the death toll, which an official U.S. government assessment put at 1,429 people, including 426 children.

The number, first released by the White House on August 30, was underscored by Secretary of State John Kerry in a fiery indictment of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, describing videos of what he said were victims of the attack, which Syria denies.

“Instead of being tucked safely in their beds at home, we saw rows of children lying side by side sprawled on a hospital floor, all of them dead from Assad’s gas and surrounded by parents and grandparents who had suffered the same fate. The United States Government now knows that at least 1,429 Syrians were killed in this attack, including at least 426 children,” he said.

Some U.S. congressional sources are now casting doubt on those figures.

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