Rear Admiral Alexander Karpov, the deputy head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, said on Monday that the center had received information that militants from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group were preparing a chemical attack in Kabana Village in Idlib.
“The terrorists are planning to conduct a staged chemical attack in a specially built camp in the village of Kabana, the Idlib Province, involving the residents of the province as victims and the injured people in order to accuse the Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons against civilians,” Karpov said at a news briefing on Monday.
Western governments and their allies have swiftly blamed Damascus after alleged chemical attacks in Syria in the past.
Syria has always denied the deployment of chemical weapons. The government handed over its entire chemical stockpile to a joint mission led by the United States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) back in 2014. The mission subsequently made sure that the weaponry were totally annihilated.
Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin on Sunday urged the global chemical weapons watchdog to conduct an impartial investigation into an alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma, near the capital, Damascus, that was carried out on April 7, 2018.
Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, an allegation roundly rejected by the Syrian government. On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain, and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over the alleged chemical attack.
A former OPCW senior investigator and other informed sources have suggested that the organization’s report on Douma — which was used to rationalize the airstrikes on Syria — had been doctored and key evidence in the case ignored and distorted.
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 the militant and terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.
Russia is a Syrian ally.