US Special Forces helping FSA plot chemical attack to trigger strikes on Syria forces – Russian MoD
“Our intelligence confirmed by three independent Syrian sources says that commanders of the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’, backed by the American Special Forces operators, are preparing a serious provocation involving chemical warfare agents in Deir ez-Zor province,” reads a statement released by Russian Defense Ministry.
The military alleged the FSA militants are likely to employ chlorine to orchestrate the chemical incident. “To imitate yet another ‘chemical attack by the regime against peaceful civilians’, the rebels brought canisters filled with chlorine,” it said.
The set-up could then be distributed in Western media and serve as a pretext for renewed coalition airstrikes against Syrian government’s targets. The planned “provocation,” the Russian military said, is also to justify an FSA offensive against Syrian troops on eastern bank of the Euphrates River.
The Defense Ministry earlier warned of such plans involving chemical weapons. On the latest occasion in March, Russian Reconciliation Center received a tip-off from a local resident who said possible preparations for a “provocation” with the use of chemical agents were underway in Eastern Ghouta.
According to the intelligence, Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) group have placed “hermetically sealed containers,” which could contain poisonous substances, next to a self-engineered turbine on one of the roofs in the Damascus suburb.
News of an alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma broke on April 7, with dramatic footage depicting people dousing crying children with water - leading to swift accusations that Syrian President Bashar Assad had ordered yet another “atrocity.”
Two weeks later, however, a reporter from German public broadcaster ZDF spoke to locals who told him the whole event was “staged.” The world’s third-largest news agency AFP and British tabloid the Independent also visited the site and ran stories casting doubt on whether the chemical attack had taken place.
Eventually, a boy from the Douma “attack” video, who was initially believed to be a victim, as well as medical staff at the hospital testified at a Russia-backed conference at The Hague. They revealed that members of the controversial White Helmets group poured cold water over kids after prompting panic over a fake “chemical attack.”
None of the patients at the local hospitals showed any symptoms of chemical weapons poisoning, witnesses said.
Moscow has consistently raised concerns about possible provocations using chemical agents in Syria. Russia believes that such attacks will be widely-covered in the Western media and may ultimately be used to provoke the US-led coalition to launch strikes against Syrian government forces.
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