Russia: 'US is Behind False Flag Chemical Attacks in Syria'
Russian military commander warns United States is training Takfiri terrorists
Russia's highest-ranking military commander has warned that the US is training foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists in Syria to launch "false flag chemical attacks" in the south.
According to Russian General Staff spokesman General Sergey Rudskoy, this would provide a pretext for Washington to carry out airstrikes on Syrian government troops and infrastructure.
During a news briefing in Moscow on Saturday, Mr. Rudskoy said:
“We have reliable information at our disposal that US instructors have trained a number of militant groups in the vicinity of the town of At-Tanf to stage provocations involving chemical warfare agents in southern Syria.”
“Early in March, the saboteur groups were deployed to the southern de-escalation zone to the city of Dara’a, where the units of the so-called Free Syrian Army are stationed.”
“They are preparing a series of chemical munitions explosions.
"This fact will be used to blame government forces.
"The components to produce chemical munitions have been already delivered to the southern de-escalation zone under the guise of humanitarian convoys of a number of NGOs.”
PressTV reports: The senior Russian military further noted that the planned provocations would be widely covered in Western media outlets, and would ultimately be used as a pretext by the US-led coalition to launch strikes on Syria.
Rudskoy warned that another false flag chemical attack was being prepared in Syria’s northern province of Idlib by members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, in coordination with the White Helmets.
The White Helmets is a self-proclaimed civil defense group that has been documented to have ties with anti-Damascus militant groups as well as Western and Persian Gulf Arab governments backing the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
‘Allegations of Syria’s chemical attacks meant to stop army advances’
Meanwhile, the Syrian ambassador to Moscow, Riyad Haddad, says allegations by Western countries that the Damascus government had made use of chemical weapons in its battles against militant groups were merely aimed at stopping territorial gains by government forces.
“The aggression of the United States and its related media outlets in alleging that our government has used chemical weapons is done to undermine the success that Syrian forces are making to liberate our land,” Haddad pointed out.
Late last month, the White Helmets claimed that Syrian government forces had deployed chlorine gas against the town of al-Shifoniya in Eastern Ghouta, killing one child and causing “widespread suffocation” among local civilians.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) later said 14 civilians had suffered breathing difficulties after a Syrian jet struck Eastern Ghouta.
The Russian Defense Ministry had earlier warned that militant groups in Eastern Ghouta were preparing a false flag attack in a bid to blame the Damascus government for using chemical weapons against civilians.
The Syrian government surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.
Western governments and their allies, however, have never stopped pointing the finger at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack has taken place.
13 civilians injured as Ghouta militants shell Damascus neighborhood
In a separate development on Saturday, at least 13 civilians were injured after militants fired shells at the residential areas of Damascus, Syria's official news agency SANA reported, citing an unnamed source in the capital’s police command.
Russia says over 44,000 people have left Syria's Eastern Ghouta, with over 27,000 on Saturday alone.
SANA on Friday quoted an official source at Syria's Foreign and Expatriates Ministry as saying that the Syrian government securing the departure of thousands of civilians from Eastern Ghouta despite all the desperate attempts by the terrorists to prevent them from leaving exposes the lies and hypocrisy of Western countries professing concern for the civilians.
Syrian forces retake two more towns in Ghouta
Meanwhile, the SOHR said Syria forces retook two more towns in Eastern Ghouta on Saturday.
Government forces seized Kafr Batna and Sabqa in the south of the enclave, the monitoring group said.
Eastern Ghouta, a besieged area on the outskirts of Damascus which is home to some 400,000 people, has witnessed deadly violence over the past few days, with foreign-sponsored terrorists launching mortar attacks on the Syrian capital in the face of an imminent humiliating defeat.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.