As many as 36 children were reported to have died excruciating deaths last night after receiving tainted measles vaccines under a UN-sponsored programme in the rebel-held north of Syria.
The programme was suspended amid rumours of sabotage of a high profile international effort to ensure the brutal civil war does not result in an outbreak of measles.
Doctors in clinics in the towns of Jirjanaz and Maaret al-Nouman in the northeastern province of Idlib said children started falling ill soon after the doses were administered.
There were conflicting figures of dead and injured last night as a tide of grief swept the front line rural settlements.
Relief organisations just over the border in Turkey said the loss of life was extensive, rising as high as 36 plus more than a dozen other children in a serious condition.