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Russian MoD Denies Claims of Chemical Attack in Idlib

US Department of State spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on 22 May that Washington was collecting information regarding an alleged chemical weapons attack that reportedly took place in Syria over the weekend, warning the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad that it would quickly respond if Damascus’ use of chemical weapons is confirmed.

The Russian Defence Ministry has denied reports of a chemical attack in Syria's Idlib, saying that "this cynical lie is not even confirmed by the White Helmets".

"The desire of the US State Department to impose another lie on the world about some 'signs of a chemical attack' in the Idlib de-escalation zone is no longer perplexing", ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told reporters.

The Jabhat al-Nusra* militants are the only "sources" and "eyewitnesses" of the chemical attack that was allegedly carried out in Idlib, according to the ministry.

"A particular cynicism is given to the US State Department's statement about the alleged 19 May 'chemical attack' in Syria by the subsequent public denials of this lie even by the UK[-based Syrian] Observatory for Human Rights and the so-called fraudsters of the White Helmets", Konashenkov said.

The Defence Ministry continued by describing Washington's attempts to "invent" a story about alleged chemical attacks in Idlib as a political cover for terrorist actions.

"We also want to remind the State Department that on 18 May, Syrian government troops were the first to unilaterally completely cease fire. They did not succumb to numerous provocations for several days. Therefore, there were no 'attacks' on 19 May in the Idlib de-escalation zone in principle", he said.

Smoke rises from the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib on March 26, 2015 following bombing by rebels. Islamist fighters have seized 17 checkpoints from Syrian forces in clashes around the city of Idlib that have cost at least 71 lives, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. - Sputnik International
Reports of Alleged Chemical Attack in Syria's Idlib Unconfirmed - US State Dept
The statement comes after the US reported that it was gathering information regarding what it suspects was a chlorine attack in north-western Syria on 19 May.

Just a few days earlier, the Russian Defence Ministry's Syrian Reconciliation Centre warned that terrorists were preparing a provocation with the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian province of Idlib. Damascus, in turn, denied reports about the chemical attack.

READ MORE: US Reports of 'Chemical Incident' in Syria Based on Terrorist Claims — Moscow

Western countries have repeatedly accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons during the ongoing civil war and have even conducted airstrikes on the Arab Republic following reports about alleged chemical attacks.

Damascus has rejected all the accusations, stressing that the incidents were plotted by militants in order to discredit the Syrian government.

*Al-Nusra Front (the Nusra Front, Jabhat al-Nusra) — terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries.

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