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    A man walks past damaged buildings in the rebel held besieged city of Douma, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria January 8, 2017

    Ex-DoS Official Warns of Another Possible False Flag Provocation Blaming Syria

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Terrorists are likely to stage another fake chemical weapons attack in Syria because they need air support given that recent US-led strikes were ineffective and did nothing to hurt President Bashar Assad’s forces, former State Department official Jim Jatras told Sputnik.

    On Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said Riyadh was ready to deploy its troops to Syria upon US request. President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed an interest in pulling US troops out of Syria. In fact, Trump made the suggestion shortly before the alleged chemical attack on April 7 in Douma which the United States, France, and the United Kingdom responded to with airstrikes a week later.

    "On the overall course of the war, the strikes will do nothing to change the Syrian government’s path to victory," Jatras said on Wednesday. "That’s why another false flag provocation — and another bigger strike — is almost certain. We’re not out of the woods yet."

    The relevant jihadist groups and their foreign sponsors just need to get organized to stage a new fake attack similar to the one in Douma probably in the coming weeks if not days, Jatras added.

    "With regard to the strikes themselves, it’s very hard to know in terms of the wildly divergent claims from Washington and Moscow about the number of US missiles that were shot down," he said.

    US strikes effectively turned the United States into air support for terrorists on the ground including the Islamic State (banned in Russia). The strikes were also suspicious in light of a coming probe by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

    "Why was the strike launched a day before OPCW experts arrived in Syria? For that very reason. The Russian accusation against the United Kingdom and its cat’s paw the so-called ‘White Helmets’ was spot on," Jatras said.

    With respect to Russia blaming the UK for staging the chemical attack in Duma Jatras said that, to his knowledge, "no country has so directly accused another of such calculated, malicious deception with the purpose of triggering what could turn into a major war."

    If the UK was involved in deliberate deception in falsely accusing Syria and Russia of using chemical weapons when they had not, such actions were extremely dangerous and expressions of outright hostility, Jatras warned.

    "If the phony claims of Russian election hacking are termed an ‘act of war’ by Western accusers, what are we to call Douma — but an act of war by the United Kingdom against the Russian Federation?" he asked.

    Jatras advised Moscow to retaliate in economic terms against UK airlines flying to Russia.

    "In my opinion, Moscow should take the initiative, for example indefinitely banning British flag carrier overflights of Russian territory," he said.

    The Syrian government has strongly denied being behind the alleged chemical attack in Douma and stated that the missile strike was a "brutal" aggression. Russia’s defense ministry said that it had proof the UK staged the Douma attack to justify intervention.

    Related:

    Russian Military Finds Chemical Weapons Warehouse in Syrian Douma - Reports
    WHO Denies Team Carried Out Mission to Syria's Douma on Tuesday - Spokesman
    Alleged Douma Attack Not a Legal Justification for Trump's Syria Strikes
    Tags:
    chemical weapons, provocation, Douma, Syria, United States, United Kingdom, France
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