Russia says it is “seriously concerned” that a terrorist group together with the so-called White Helmets in Syria plan to carry out “chemical provocations” in the Arab country’s northwestern province of Idlib, one of the last territories in Syria where terrorists are still active.
Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Vasily Nebenzya said at a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday that the Takfiri Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist outfit and the “White Helmets” — which seeks to portray itself as a “civil defense” group — are cooperating to stage such provocation.
“We are seriously concerned by the new information stating that the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members with the support of the infamous White Helmets are preparing new staged events with the use of toxic elements,” he said.
The Western-backed White Helmets group is known for its coordination with terror groups in Syria to carry out staged chemical attacks aimed at falsely incriminating Syrian government forces and inventing pretexts for possible acts of aggression on army troops by a US-led military coalition present in Syria since roughly 2014.
The group has been involved in false flag chemical attacks before.
Earlier this month, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova issued a similar warning, saying that the two groups were establishing arms caches in the northwestern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, the western coastal province of Latakia, and the western-central province of Hama.
Earlier this year, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the White Helmets had deployed equipment in several hospitals in Idlib to film false flag chemical attacks and blame them on the Syrian government.
In April 2017, a suspected sarin gas attack hit the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib, killing at least 80 people. Accusing Damascus, the US then launched nearly 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, taking the lives of about 20 people, including both Syrian soldiers and civilians.
On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain, and France launched a coordinated missile attack against sites and research facilities near Damascus and Homs with the purported goal of paralyzing the Syrian government’s capability to produce chemical arms. The strikes came one week after an alleged gas attack on the Damascus suburb town of Douma. Western countries blamed the incident on the Syrian government. Damascus rejected the accusation.
The Syrian government says it has never used chemical weapons.
Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Nebenzya, the Russian UN envoy, said that the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terror outfit was in control of “90 percent” of Idlib Province and that it continued its attacks against government forces.
He added that since the beginning of this year, more than 460 of such attacks had been recorded, which killed more than 30 people.