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Syria militants plan chemical attack to blame government: Russia

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)
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova (Photo by AFP)

A senior Russian diplomat has warned that members of a foreign-backed militant group plan to carry out a chemical attack in Syria’s Dara'a province in order to put the blame on the Damascus government. 

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that members of Shabab al-Sunnah group, which is linked to the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), have access to chemical weapons in Syria’s Dara'a province.

"There are currently several munitions filled with toxic agents at the Shabab al-Sunnah group’s warehouse located in the Bosra al-Sham settlement in Dara'a province," media outlets quoted the spokeswoman as saying, who added, "According to our information, militants plan to use these weapons to attack one of the settlements in the Dara'a province, putting the blame on the government forces."

According to the Russian spokeswoman, six settlements, namely Hiran, Nawa, Inkhil, Jamila, Tafas and Deira  are most likely to come under chemical attack across the troubled region.

The remarks come as Terrorists have already used weapons of mass destruction in their war against Damascus.

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

Following the attack, 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, claiming that the airfield targeted in the missile raid was the origin of the April 4 purported chemical attack.

In this image released by the US Navy, the USS Ross is seen firing a tomahawk land attack missile at a Syrian airfield on April 7, 2017. (Via AFP)

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

In late June,  Mike Billington, an expert at the Executive Intelligence Review from Leesburg, said in an interview with Press TV that Some people within the US and UK administrations were pushing for a war on Syria in line with their attempts to “sabotage” any possible cooperation between the US and Russia on fighting terrorism.

“Trump was fooled the first time. He was told that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad used chemical weapons. It was obvious to the entire world that was a lie,” Billington said, adding, “It is another case of Iraq scam [and similar to] the accusations that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which later of course turned out to be a total lie.”

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

On August 25 this year, the head of the Russian military's branch for protection from chemical weapons, Major General Igor Kirillov, said that his forces had managed to dismantle two chemical weapons facilities in the formerly militant-held areas in war-torn Syria.

The development raised doubts about the West's claims that the Syrian army was in possession of chemical weapons.

Al-Nusra will not be removed from terror list
Elsewhere in her remarks, Zakharova said that all attempts made by the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra terror organization in Syria to become legalized by changing its name were futile.

"There is a feeling that [Jabhat] al-Nusra members came to believe in the saving force of the already customary rebranding and assume that a new change of the form and name will help remove them from the terror organizations list. However, all these attempts to avoid responsibility for the crimes and, let’s put it this way, to become legalized are, of course, forlorn," the Russian diplomat said.

"The UN Security Council has clearly classified Jabhat al-Nusra and other structures affiliated to al-Qaeda as terrorist, with all ensuing consequences," she pointed out.

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)

Jabhat al-Nusra, long acting as an affiliate of the al-Qaeda terrorist group, has recently renamed itself and claimed to have broken ranks with al-Qaeda.

Syria has been grappling with militancy since March 2011. The anti-terror fight took a fresh momentum last year, when pro-government forces liberated Aleppo, Syria’s largest city before the start of war in 2011. The liberation hugely boosted the morale of the army and allied forces to go after terrorists in other regions.

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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