Speaking to the Syrian Arab News Agency, the sources said that some Western powers are working at the UN to try to save the besieged militants from complete destruction at the hands of the Syrian military, which began an operation to liberate the territory from militant control last month.
According to the sources, the Syrian Army's recent advances in Ghouta have pushed the jihadists and their sponsors to fabricate allegations about government crimes involving chemical weapons in an effort to halt the operation, or even use such claims as a pretext to allow Western powers to launch an attack against Damascus.
The White Helmets, the self-styled 'Syrian Civil Defense' group notorious for associating with jihadist militants, made new claims Tuesday that the Syrian military had carried out a chlorine gas attack in East Ghouta, injuring several women and children.
Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria's permanent representative to the UN, had earlier told the UN Security Council that the Syrian government had information about rebel plans to stage a chlorine gas attack and blame it on the Syrian Army. According to al-Jaafari, this attack would be carried out before March 13.
As of Monday, about one third of East Ghouta is back in government hands. The Syrian Army, including its elite Tiger Forces special forces unit, are battling an assortment of Islamist militias, including Jaysh al-Islam and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front,* which recently rebranded itself as Tahrir al-Sham.
*A terrorist group banned in Russia