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Russia: Terrorists plotting chemical attack in Idlib to blame Syrian government

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)
Members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group (File photo)

The Russian Center for Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria says it has received information that Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham terrorists are planning a provocation with the use of toxic agents northeast of the de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib Province.

Rear Admiral Vyacheslav Sytnik, deputy chief of the Russian center, said on Saturday that the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants had already delivered truck containers with toxic agents, presumably chlorine, to the settlement of Tarmanin.

"According to our information, militants plan to simulate a chemical attack entailing casualties among local residents in order to accuse the Syrian government forces of the use of chemical weapons against civilians," he added.

Russia has repeatedly criticized the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for ignoring the information about toxic provocations in Syria, saying the body is biased against the Damascus government.

Recently, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said the OPCW is being used as a political tool by the Western countries to put pressure on the states they deem as "undesirable".

Moscow and Damascus have on many occasions accused the White Helmets of staging gas attacks in a bid to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by the US-led military coalition.

The group claims to be a humanitarian NGO but has long been accused of collaborating with anti-Damascus militants.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Sytnik reported 37 shelling attacks from terrorist positions in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

"The Russian reconciliation center calls on commanders of illegal armed groups to stop armed provocations and embark on a path of peaceful settlement of the situation on territories they control," he said.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Damascus says the Western governments and their regional allies are aiding the Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the Arab country.

Russia has been providing Syrian forces with crucial military assistance in the ongoing counter-terrorism battles. 

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