“Around four weeks ago, we knew that British intelligence was working towards a chemical attack in order to blame the Syrian government, to hold Syria responsible,” Black said on the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen news channel.
Black later clarified that he meant the British were not planning to carry out the attack themselves, rather they intended to direct rebel forces to do so or stage a fake attack, with actors playing victims.
Russia, for over a month, has been warning that the surrounded rebels in Idlib province are preparing a false-flag attack to frame Damascus and trigger a US led-coalition intervention.
In turn, US Marine General Joseph Dunford says he's involved in “routine dialogue” with Donald Trump to keep him informed about “military options” for retaliation in case “chemical weapons are used.” In April, the US led a series of strikes against the Syrian government, avowedly in response to the Douma chemical attack which they blamed on Assad.
According to Black, previous alleged chemical attacks on the Syrian rebel-held area were also fakes concocted by the UK alongside the so-called ‘White Helmets,’ a group of first-responders who face numerous accusations of being linked to Syria’s Jihadist opposition.
“From what I can tell, they have been planning a fake attack, not a genuine one, but one where they actually move people out of a town and they have trained people to portray victims of a gas attack,” Black told The Washington Post.
“And the plan is to use the White Helmets who have always been involved in these notorious deceptions, to portray an attack.”
Black’s assertion of British plotting, flies in the face of both the Obama and Trump administration’s claims that Assad has used chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
Respective claims from Russia and the US about planned chemical attacks, the latter accusing Assad of planning to use chlorine, come as Syrian forces are preparing to retake Idlib province, the last rebel-held stronghold. Three million people are thought to live in the area, which is controlled by various rebel groups, including Al-Qaeda linked Jabhat Al-Nusra, and remnants of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) cells.
The comments came after Black’s second visit to Syria. Explaining his visit in 2016, Black praised Assad for protecting Syria against Islamic fundamentalists.
On his recent visit, Black said of Assad: “There was sort of a spring in his step and a sense of joy and optimism, and looking out to the future and bringing the nation together.”
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