A high-ranking Russian official says Western intelligence services are sponsoring members of the so-called civil defense group White Helmets and offering complete support to them to propagate fake news in a bid to incriminate Syrian government forces as a pretext for possible acts of aggression on army troops.
“The White Helmets is an organization financed by intelligence services overseas… It is fulfilling their objective within the framework of a propaganda campaign against the Syrian people, and the Syrian Arab Republic at large,” Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, said on Wednesday.
He added that the Russian military has proven that the video footage of an alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers (6 miles) northeast of the capital Damascus, was staged and a false-flag operation indeed.
“Two years ago, shocking footage went viral across the world, which purportedly showed the use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces in the city of Douma against the local civilian population. In a short period of time, the Russian military together with reporters and Syrian nationals proved that the footage provided by the odious White Helmets organization was fake and inauthentic,” Naryshkin said.
‘Syrian army in control of many villages, towns in southern Idlib’
Meanwhile, Syrian government forces, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have made significant advances against foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants in the northwestern province of Idlib, establishing control over many villages, towns as well as strategic hilltops.
In a statement released by the official news agency SANA on Wednesday, Syria’s General Command of the Army and Armed Forces announced that troops have made remarkable territorial gains, and inflicted heavy losses on the terrorists in terms of military hardware and personnel.
The statement enumerated some of the liberated towns and villages as Rakaya Sijneh, Kafar Sijnah, Sheikh Mustafa, Maarzita, Hass, Ma’aret Hurmah, Kafr Nabl, Baarbu, al-Dar al-Kabera, Deir Sunbul and Hizareen.
It went on to say that Syrian army forces will continue to carry out their sacred national duties, and are determined to liberate the entire Syrian territories from the grip of terrorism and its sponsors.
Syrian govt. forces liberate more villages in Idlib
Also on Wednesday, Syrian government soldiers and their allies continued their advances in the southern environs of Idlib province, retaking more villages from Takfiri militants.
SANA reported that Syrian forces established control over seven villages, namely Shinshrah, Tramla, Deir Sunbul and al-Bureij, following intense battles with members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, Takfiri terrorist group.
The report added that Syrian army troops have launched an operation to hunt down the terrorists that have fled to neighboring villages.
Turkish-backed militants cut off water supply to Syria’s Hasakah
Separately, Turkish-backed Takfiri militants have cut off water supply to Syria’s northeastern city of Hasakah over the past three days.
SANA reported that the extremists have stopped the pumping of water from the Allouk water station, located near the Syrian-Turkish border and close to Turkish-controlled Ra’s al-Ayn town in northern Syria, to areas in the northern countryside of Hasakah.
The report added that the measure has prevented water from reaching hundreds of thousands of people.