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Russia strikes militants behind 'chlorine' attack on Syria's Aleppo

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)
The undated photo shows a Russian Sukhoi Su-35 bomber landing at the Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, Syria. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has carried out airstrikes against militants it held responsible for firing shells filled with chlorine gas at Syria’s northern city of Aleppo.

Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday that Russian strikes had destroyed all of militant hideouts and targets in the region.

"Air strikes were carried out by Russian air force planes," Konashenkov said in comments reported by TASS state news agency.

Konashenkov pointed out that Russia carried out strikes after finding evidence they could use such weapons again.

The spokesman said Russia had warned Turkey of the bombing raid in advance via a telephone hotline.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Konashenkov pointed to repeated warnings from Russia that the  so-called White Helmets volunteers in Idlib were staging chemical attacks in order to blame them on the Syrian government forces. The group is a Western-backed organization which stands accused of working with Takfiri terrorists and staging false-flag chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The militant attack hit al-Khalidiya neighborhood in the government-held city on Saturday, foreign news agencies and state television reported, saying close to 100 people have been hospitalized.

Doctors said most of those admitted to hospitals have breathing problems and blurred vision. State TV showed footage of medical professionals treating men and women on hospital beds.

Russia said the chemical attack had been launched from an area in the Idlib de-escalation zone controlled by the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, Takfiri terrorist group.

In a statement, Russia's Ministry of Defense said it planned to talk to Turkey about the incident since Ankara was a guarantor of how the militants there upheld a ceasefire.

In the past, the United States and its allies have been using as pretexts to carry out missile strikes against Syria.

The first such attack came in April 2017, when US President Donald Trump ordered US Navy warships in the Mediterranean to fire a total of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase.

About a year later, Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Theresa May authorized a joint missile attack against alleged chemical weapons manufacturing sites inside Syria.

The latter attack, which came in response to what the US and its allies had insisted was another chemical attack in Douma on the outskirts of Damascus, saw 105 cruise missiles being fired from sea and air at Syrian government targets.

Syria finished dismantling its stockpiles of chemical weapons in 2014 under a joint mission led by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry has called on the UN Security Council to condemn the recent chemical attack carried out by the foreign-backed militants in Aleppo.


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