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HTS terrorists planning false-flag chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib, Russia warns

In this file picture, Takfiri terrorists attend a mock battle in anticipation of an attack by Syrian government forces on Idlib province and the surrounding countryside, during a graduation of new Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham members at a camp in the countryside of Idlib province, on August 14, 2018. (Photo by Getty Images)

Russia has warned that foreign-backed terrorists are preparing for a false-flag chemical attack in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib to implicate government troops and fabricate pretexts for foreign acts of aggression on the war-ravaged Arab country.

Rear Admiral Alexander Karpov, the deputy head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, said on Friday that the center had received information that the foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists, affiliated with the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group, were seeking to escalate tensions in the northeastern part of the province through organizing an attack on the village of Kityan in order “to frame the Syrian army for the use of chemical warfare against civilians.”

Karpov noted that his center has frequently been informed about terrorists’ provocative actions in Syria and their attempts to carry out false-flag chemical attacks.

Back on March 9, the HTS militants were intending to stage a chemical attack on the village of Kabana in Idlib.

The Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Parties in Syria announced on February 20 that the HTS terrorists had been planning a provocation with the use of toxic agents northeast of the de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib Province.

The center said at the time that the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists had already delivered truck containers with toxic agents, presumably chlorine, to the town of Turmanin.

“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,” it stated back then.

Also on April 4, 2017, a suspected sarin gas attack hit the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib Province, killing more than 80 people.

The Western countries rushed to blame the incident on the Syrian governemnt, with the US launching a missile attack against Shayrat Airbase in Syria’s Homs Province on April 7, 2017.

Washington claimed that the air field had been the origin of the chemical attack. Damascus, however, said the Khan Shaykhun incident was a fabrication to justify the subsequent US missile strike.

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 members of the so-called White Helmets civil defense group 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.

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.

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

This is while Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has also consistently denied using chemical weapons.

Syrians slam US occupation, call for withdrawal of Turkish forces from Hasakah

Meanwhile, Syrians in northeastern province of Hasakah have attended a tribal forum to protest the deployment of US and Turkish military forces in their areas, and express their full support for the anti-terror operations of Syrian army troops.

Participants in the forum, organized by Taei tribe in the city of Qamishli, stressed the need for popular resistance as the most viable strategy in the face of foreign forces, who plunder natural resources and steal agricultural crops to increasing the sufferings of people in the Jazira region.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Faris, a senior tribal leader, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that “The forum is being held after ten years of resilience against terrorism.”

People attend a tribal forum in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli, Hasakah province, on March 19, 2021 to protest the presence of US and Turkish military forces and demand their withdrawals. (Photo by SANA)

He noted that the residents of Jazira region strongly support the territorial integrity of their motherland as well as the unity of all Syrians, and stand by government troops.

Sheikh Faris emphasized that members of local clans will cast their ballots in the forthcoming presidential election.

‘US military forces smuggle wheat crops from Hasakah into Iraq’

A convoy of dozens of US trucks has left Hasakah for the neighboring Iraq, carrying tens of tons of grain, reports said.

SANA, citing local sources, reported that 17 military vehicles loaded with wheat crops from silos of Touwiba village headed towards Iraqi territories.

The sources added that the trucks were escorted by US-sponsored militants affiliated with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

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