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Terrorists equipping missiles with chemical warheads in Syria’s Idlib: Report

This undated picture shows members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, marching toward the northern village of al-Ais in Syria’s northwestern province of Aleppo. (Photo by AP)

Members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, together with militants from the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria, have reportedly mounted chemical warheads on more than a hundred missiles in cooperation with European experts in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency  that the foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants had modified some 120 missiles with toxic chemicals in a bid to strike residential targets as well as Syrian army positions in the western province of Hama and Latakia.

The sources noted that the terrorists, in cooperation with the so-called civil defense group White Helmets, have transferred the missiles from one of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham’s arms depots to another cache in Sahl al-Rouj area west of Idlib on board five ambulances.

They went on to say that the White Helmets, which has been repeatedly accused of cooperating with Takfiri terrorists and staging false-flag gas attacks, has also moved special equipment from the town of Khan Sheikhoun to the region.

The sources further highlighted that Belgian chemical experts had assisted the Takfiri terrorists in equipping the missiles with toxic materials, adding that they had also supervised transfer of eight chlorine gas containers from one of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham’s positions in the town of al-Dana in northern Idlib to the base.

Speaking during a press briefing in the Russian capital Moscow on March 15, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said there were reports that the Takfiri terrorists, in coordination with the White Helmets, were establishing arms caches in the northwestern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, the western coastal province of Latakia as well as the western-central province of Hama.

“We are closely monitoring the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone. The terrorists operating there are not stopping their provocative false-flag attacks against government forces. Since the beginning of the year, over 460 such incidents have been recorded,” Zakharova said.

The Russian official said Moscow was “seriously concerned” about new reports that militants from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, with assistance from the notorious White Helmets, were making preparations for another staged attack involving the use of toxic substances to put the blame for the use of chemical weapons on government forces.

“Terrorists are dispersing the corresponding warheads and caches in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Lattakia, and Hama,” Zakharova stated.

The US has warned it would respond to any possible chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces with retaliatory strikes, stressing that the attacks would be stronger than those conducted by American, British and French forces last year.

On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, an allegation rejected by the Syrian government.

On September 11 last year, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov censured the US threats to use military force against Syria as part of Washington’s blackmail policy.

“Unlike the United States, Britain and their allies, Russia provides particular facts on a daily basis through its Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry as well as missions in New York, The Hague and Geneva. We particularly name geographical points, where preparations are underway for certain terrorist groups backed by the US and its allies to carry out provocations,” Ryabkov said.

Western governments and their allies have never stopped pointing the finger at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack takes place.

Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the US and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. Damascus has also consistently denied using chemical weapons.

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