The Russian center for Syrian reconciliation stated that it had received information from a local resident that al-Nusra Front terrorists and White Helmets were preparing to stage a provocation, involving chemical weapons' use, in Syria's Idlib province in order to blame Damascus for the attack on civilians.
"On the evening of February 12, the Russian center for reconciliation received a telephone call from the resident a settlement in the Idlib province, informing about a forthcoming provocation, using poisonous chemicals, to air it on a foreign television channel. According to the person, on the afternoon of February 12, the al-Nusra Front militants delivered brought more than 20 bottles of chlorine and personal protective equipment on three cars," the Russian military stated.
According to the center, representatives of the local branch of the White Helms conducted rehearsals of providing "first aid" in individual means of protection to allegedly "affected local residents" from poisoning.
The person, who called, drew attention to the fact that these actions were filmed by professional TV correspondents who, commenting on the actions of representatives of the White Helmets, put on a microphone with a cover, having a logo of a Western television company.
"At the same time, correspondents consulted with someone via a satellite phone in English. Information received from a resident of the province of Idlib, causes serious concern of the Russian Center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria."
Previously, the Russian Defense Ministry had several times questioned actions by the so-called Syrian Civil Defence, known as the White Helmets, which have been largely lauded by Western states and received an Oscar award for their documentary in 2017. Following the release of a controversial report by the UN-OPCW on the chemical attacks in Syria, the Russian military alongside the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade presented their own document, which states that photos made by the White Helmets organization's volunteers who are believed to be connected with al-Nusra Front-linked were fake and staged.
The organization earlier came under fire, when the Swedish NGO Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDHR) has accused it of falsifying information about its alleged work in Syria. According to the Swedish human rights activists, so-called "rescue" procedures captured in White Helmets videos had been staged; they were carried out on a dead child.
Damascus has repeatedly refuted allegations of chemical weapons' use, emphasizing that all such arms had no such weapons since 2014, when they had been removed from the state with the assistance of the US. The destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal was confirmed by the OPCW. However, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, supported by the United States, immediately blamed the Syrian government for using the chemical weapons against civilian population in the Khan Sheikhoun settlement in Idlib on April 4, 2017, that had left 80 people dead and injured 200 more.
Since the alleged chemical attack in the province, Russia has been calling for a thorough probe into the incident and emphasized that there had been multiple accounts that terrorists in Syria possessed chemical weapons.
Most recently, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzia stated that the Syrian government had consistently informed the international community on the issue, including the UNSC about the detection in areas liberated from terrorists, of dangerous chemical substances.