Militants in Syria are planning to stage a chemical attack to blame the country's authorities, Rear Adm. Vyacheslav Sytnik, the deputy head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria, said at a briefing on Saturday.
According to Sytnik, the Russian military received information about the preparation by Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham* of provocations in the northeastern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone using poisonous substances.
He added that the terrorists had delivered containers with toxic substances, presumably with chlorine, in several trucks to the area of the Tarmanin settlement.
Russia has repeatedly pointed out that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has ignored the information about terrorist provocations, accusing the body of bias against the Syrian government. Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said the body is being used as a political tool by Western countries to put pressure on "undesirable" states.
In 2014, the OPCW set up the fact-finding mission to establish the truth about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. Last year, WikiLeaks published an email from a member of the OPCW mission to Syria to his superiors in which he voiced gravest concerns about the redacted version of the fact-finding mission's report he had co-authored.
In November, the Russian military also reported about terrorists preparing provocations aimed at destabilising the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone and discrediting the Syrian armed forces. According to the Russian military, militants intended to shell the area and publish footage of the consequences of the shelling on their Internet resources in order to accuse the Syrian government forces of striking the positions of Turkish troops.
*Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra) is a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia