01:02 GMT +322 September 2018
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    French Rafale fighter aircrafts come back aboard the French Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, after flights on November 23, 2015 at eastern Mediterranean sea, as part of operation Chammal in Syria and Irak against the Islamic State group

    France Ready to React in Case of Proven Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria – FM

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    Earlier, the Russian military said that it had evidence that militants in the besieged terrorist-held Syrian province of Idlib were preparing to stage a false flag chemical attack to discredit the Syrian government and prompt Western military intervention.

    Paris and its allies are prepared to react to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said, speaking to French lawmakers on Wednesday.

    "France is prepared to react firmly together with its allies in the event of the proven use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime," Le Drian said.

    Noting that "the situation in Idlib is extremely serious," the foreign minister said that "we are at the beginning of a humanitarian catastrophe." 

    Le Drian noted that the possibility of "war crimes cannot be excluded … once one begins to indiscriminately bomb civilian populations and hospitals."

    The French foreign minister also suggested that "the worst can be avoided" if Damascus were to "show responsibility," adding that "France recognizes only a political solution."

    Earlier on Wednesday, the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation warned that it had intelligence indicating that the Tanzim Hurras ad-Din* terrorist group, in coordination with the White Helmets, was preparing to use chemical weapons against children, tape the incident and blame Damascus for the crime.

    According to the center, nine scenes showing the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian troops against civilians were filmed this week in the settlement of Jisr al-Shughur, in northern Idlib, with crews from several regional networks as well as a US broadcaster said to be involved. The White Helmets and Nusra Front** terrorists have already approved the transfer of two clips to the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the center said. The Russian military also warned that preparations were being made for a chemical attack to be staged in the village of Kafir-Zait.

    Also on Wednesday, Alexander Shulgin, Russia's permanent representative to the OPCW, called on the organization to not allow provocations involving the use of chemical weapons in Idlib.

    The US and its British and French allies have already launched air and missile strikes against Syria based on false claims that the government had used chemical weapons on two separate occasions, in April 2017 and April 2018. Both attacks were preceded by disinformation campaigns supported by the White Helmets group.

    The situation in Idlib, the armed opposition's last bastion in Syria, has been the site of international tensions in recent weeks amid regular warnings by Washington and its allies urging the Syrian Army not to launch a large-scale operation to liberate the province. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing its own sources, that the Pentagon could not rule out strikes against Russian positions in Syria, nor those of Iranian advisors assisting Damascus in its campaign against the terrorists.

    *An al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamist terrorist group outlawed in Russia.

    ** Aka al-Qaeda in Syria; also outlawed in Russia.

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