08:09 GMT29 March 2020
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    A military-diplomatic source told Sputnik that Jabhat Fatah al Sham terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, is allegedly preparing provocations at a storage in Syria's Idlib with the use of sarin gas in the towns of Khan Sheikhoun and Kefraya.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The source pointed out that a group of foreign citizens including those from the United States and Turkey as well as one of Jabhat Fatah al Sham's senior leaders had arrived in Idlib to take part in the preparations for the provocations.

    "According to the obtained information, a preparation for organizing a provocation with the use of the sarin poisonous chemical is being carried out in the Al Magarah settlement [the Idlib province], in a big technological building. The shells with this poisonous gas are presumably held in this storage," the source said.

    "There are reasons to believe that this provocation will be committed in the settlements of Khan Sheikhoun and Kefraya. Its goal is to discredit the Syrian government and to wreck the Astana negotiation process scheduled for July 4-5," the source added.

    The preparations for the Astana talks are ongoing and no signs of wrecking the negotiations have been noticed, Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Anuar Jainakov told Sputnik on Sunday. "I can only confirm that we are further preparing for the meeting scheduled for July 4-5. I do not have any other information. There have been no signs of wrecking negations," Jainakov said.

    Earlier this week, the White House claimed that a new attack involving chemical weapons was in the works by the Syrian government, however, declined to present any evidence. Washington vowed to make Syrian authorities "pay a heavy price" in case of chemical weapons use. The Kremlin commented on the White House's claim and said that it considers US' threats against Syrian legitimate leadership to be "unacceptable." Damascus also denied the information.

    On April 4, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces supported by the United States blamed the Syrian government for an alleged chemical weapon attack in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib province. Reacting to the incident, Washington, which had not presented any proof of the chemical weapons use by Damascus, launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian governmental military airfield in Ash Sha’irat on April 6.

    Damascus has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident and said that the Syrian government doesn't possess chemical weapons as the full destruction of Damascus’ chemical weapons stockpile had been confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in January 2016.

    In an interview with Sputnik on April 21, Assad characterized the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun as a provocation to justify the US strike on Ash Sha’irat. The Syrian leader also warned of the possibility of the new provocations similar to the one in Khan Sheikhoun.


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    chemical attack, sarin, Al-Nusra Front, Khan Shaykhun, Kefraya, Syria
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