The notorious White Helmets group claims that the Syrian government deployed chlorine gas against the town of Al-Shifoniya town in Eastern Ghouta, killing one child and causing "widespread suffocation" among the local civilians, Anadolu Agency reports.
Earlier the Russian Defense Ministry warned that militant groups in Eastern Ghouta were preparing a false flag attack in an attempt to blame Damascus for using chemical weapons against civilians.
"Evidence has shown that the leaders of illegal armed formations in Eastern Ghouta are preparing a provocation using poisonous agents in order to accuse the government forces of using chemical weapons against its civilians," a statement issued by the ministry said.
The Arabic-language news channel al-Manar, citing al-Ikhbariya, has also reported that White Helmets were distributing protective masks in Eastern Ghouta in preparation for a new plot to blame another chemical attack on the Syrian government, while the Russian center for Syrian Reconciliation's representative said they were tipped by a resident of Idlib province about Nusra Front militants delivering "more than 20 bottles of chlorine and personal protective equipment in three cars" for an upcoming provocation.
As Syria’s Information Minister Imad Sarah told Sputnik, while Syrian armed forces and their allies battle terrorist groups in the field, it is equally important to counter the efforts of groups seeking to distort facts and to mislead the international community about the real state of affairs in the country — "to refute endless fake reports that mangle the actual state of affairs in the country and play with terms," as he put it.
The minister also remarked that members of the White Helmets have been awarded for their exceptional action, which says a lot about the scale of the conspiracy against Syria and its people.
Syria has repeatedly denied allegations of chemical weapons use, underscoring that it had no weapons of mass destruction, which was confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
On April 4, 2017, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, supported by the United States, accused Damascus of the Khan Sheikhoun incident in Idlib province, which that left 80 people dead and 200 injured. Western governments blamed Bashar al-Assad for being responsible for the use of Sarin gas, an allegation he has firmly denied.
Moscow, in turn, also demanded a thorough investigation of the incident.