MOSCOW (Dispatches) – Terrorists are preparing to stage provocations using toxic substances in Syria’s Idlib province ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, deputy head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, says.
According to Rear Adm. Alexander Karpov, the center has received information that terrorists from the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group plan to stage provocations in western Idlib using toxic substances.
On Sunday, the terrorists, accompanied by fake humanitarian workers claiming to be with the so-called aid group White Helmets, which is notorious for its support of anti-Damascus terrorist groups, delivered six containers with toxic substances, presumably chlorine, to an area of the Jisr al-Shughur settlement in two trucks.
“According to our information, the militants are planning to stage a chemical attack on the eve of the presidential elections in Syria and use its consequences — casualties and injuries among local residents — to accuse Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons against civilians,” Karpov said at a briefing.
On Friday, the Russian defense ministry warned that another terrorist group, Jabhat al-Nusra, has also been preparing a new provocation in Syria using toxic substances with the assistance from the White Helmets organization.
Elections in Syria are scheduled for May 26. More than 10,000 polling stations will be open throughout the country, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. At the request of provincial governments, the time can be extended by another five hours.
Western governments and their allies have always implicated Damascus in the wake of any apparent chemical attack in Syria.
Syria has always denied the deployment of chemical weapons, arguing that it handed over its chemical stockpile in its entirety to a joint mission led by the United States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) back in 2014. The mission subsequently made sure that the weaponry was totally annihilated.
On April 14, 2018, the U.S., 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 roundly rejected by the Syrian government.
A former OPCW senior investigator and other informed sources have suggested that the organization’s report on Douma that resulted in the airstrikes on Syria had been doctored and key evidence in the case ignored and distorted.