Numerous militant groups remain active in the Idlib de-escalation zone, carrying-out operations against Syrian government forces in violation of the ceasefire. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, this is not the first time that they have attempted to carry out a false flag attack in order to provoke a foreign intervention in Syria.
The Russian MoD has stated that militants and the remnants of the notorious White Helmets group are planning new provocations in Syria with the goal of accusing Damascus of using chemical weapons against the civilian population.
The ministry’s spokesman, Major General Yuri Borenkov, said that according to the information, which was obtained from local citizens and detained militants, representatives of the White Helmets group have arrived in the region under escort by members of the al-Nusra Front* terrorist group. He added that the White Helmets brought with them containers allegedly filled with chlorine gas.
The general said that according to Russia’s information, two chemical laboratories in the towns of Akrabat and Selhab in Idlib province are working on synthesising the chemicals needed for the provocations. He added that the specialists working in these labs received their training in Europe.
Borenkov called on all parties involved in the planned provocation to abandon their activities and resort to peaceful negotiations to resolve the ongoing conflict with Damascus.
In the past, the White Helmets have been spotted both working with terrorist organisations and staging false flag chemical attacks. Namely, they were seen filming the aftermath of such a staged attack in Douma, Syria, accusing Damascus of it. The Syrian government has denied these reports and pointed out that all of its chemical weapons (except for those captured by militant groups and terrorists) were destroyed under the supervision of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The false flag attack in Douma triggered a military response from the US, UK, and France, which conducted a joint missile strike on Syrian government positions in April 2018, despite assurances from Damascus and Moscow that chemical weapons had not been used in Syria.
The OPCW commission’s probe concluded that a chemical attack did take place in Douma that year, but failed to determine who was behind it. However, the publication of numerous leaked internal documents from the organisation by WikiLeaks revealed that the experts who visited the site found evidence supporting the chemical attack claims to be inconsistent and not convincing. Their conclusions were left out of the final report for unknown reasons.