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Russian forces destroy 2 chemical arms bases in Syria: Official

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An unconscious Syrian child is carried at a hospital in Khan Shaykhun, Idlib Province, following an alleged chemical attack on April 4, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The head of the Russian military's branch for protection from chemical weapons says his forces have managed to dismantle two chemical weapons facilities in the formerly militant-held areas in war-torn Syria.

Major General Igor Kirillov said on Friday that Moscow will provide the data to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), without elaborating on the exact location of the facilities that were destroyed this month.

The two bases were the last out of the 27 chemical weapons sites in Syria, Russian media reported.

The Syrian government turned over its entire chemical stockpile under a deal negotiated by Russia and the US back in 2013.

The OPCW oversaw the operations to remove the chemical arsenal from Syria and destroy it.

Friday’s development raises doubts about the West claims that the Syrian army is in possession of chemical weapons.

On April 4, an alleged gas attack hit the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib Province, killing more than 80 people.

The Western countries rushed to hold Damascus responsible for the incident, with the US launching a missile attack against Shayrat Airbase in Syria’s Homs Province on April 7.

Washington claimed that the air field targeted in the missile raid was the origin of the April 4 purported chemical attack.

Syria rejected the accusations, saying that militants, not pro-Damascus forces, were using chemical arms.

9K Daesh, 15K Nusra terrorists in Syria

Also on Friday, the head of the Russian General Staff's Main Department estimated that over 9,000 Daesh terrorists and more than 15,000 militants of the al-Nusra Front group, recently renaming itself Fateh al-Sham, were operating in Syria.

The file photo shows members of the Daesh terrorist group.

Lieutenant General Igor Korobov said that the Daesh elements mainly active in Syria’s central and eastern parts.

He further noted that the Nusra Front terrorists were operating in the provinces of Idlib, Homs, Quneitra and Daraa as well as the suburb of the Eastern Ghouta region.

Over the past few months, Daesh has retreated from much of the territory under its control amid sweeping gains made by Syrian army soldiers and allied fighters against the terror outfit.

Russia has been conducting air raids against Daesh and other terrorist groups in the Middle Eastern country at the Damascus government’s request since September 2015.

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