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    Syrian civil defence volunteers, known as the White Helmets, carry a body retrieved from the rubble following reported government airstrike on the Syrian town of Ariha, in the northwestern province of Idlib, on February 27, 2017

    Russian MoD: White Helmets Preparing to Stage Chemical Attack in Idlib

    © AFP 2018 / Omar haj kadour
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Representatives of the White Helmets group have delivered a large shipment of toxic substances to a warehouse used by Ahrar al-Sham militants in Idlib province, Maj. Gen. Alexei Tsygankov, head of the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation, said on Tuesday.

    "According to information received by the Russian Center for reconciliation of warring parties in Syria from independent sources located in the province of Idlib, a large shipment of toxic substances, accompanied by eight representatives of the White Helmets, was delivered from the village of Afs to the settlement of Saraqib, to a warehouse used by the militants from the Ahrar al-Sham group to store weapons and fuel supplies. They were met by two high-ranking commanders from the above-mentioned illegal armed group," Tsygankov said at a daily briefing.

    "A part of this shipment in unmarked plastic barrels was later transported to another militant base in the southern part of Idlib province in order to stage a false-flag chemical attack and subsequently accuse the government forces of the use of toxic agents against civilians," Tsygankov stressed.

    READ MORE: US Redirects $230Mln for Syria Stabilization, to Continue Funding White Helmets

    Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday that the White Helmets group in Syria plans to film videos for Middle Eastern and English-language media outlets after staging a false-flag chemical weapons attack aimed at sharply destabilizing the situation in the war-torn country.

    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said earlier on Tuesday that Moscow has called on Germany and the United States to influence the armed opposition in Syria's Idlib province amid possible provocations with the use of chemical weapons in the area.

    Ryabkov stressed that the Nusra Front terrorist group, which now refers to itself as the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham group, was plotting a very serious provocation in the Idlib area with the use of chemical weapons. According to the deputy minister, the White Helmets group in Syria will film a video of the "chemical attack," and the provocation might be used as a pretext for massive strikes on Syria.

    READ MORE: US, Israel Want White Helmets Out of Syria to Prevent Exposure – Ex-CIA Officer

    According to the Russian military, chemical weapons provocation, currently being prepared by terrorists in Syria, is aimed at allowing France, the United Kingdom and the United States to carry out a strike on Syrian government’s targets.

    For this purpose, USS The Sullivans destroyer with 56 cruise missiles on board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago, while a US В-1В bomber carrying 24 air-to-surface AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles was deployed at Al Udeid air base in Qatar.

    The White Helmets is a Syrian humanitarian organization that claims to have saved tens of thousands of lives. Both Moscow and Damascus said that the White Helmets had ties with terrorists and extremists. The group's head, Raed Saleh, said earlier in August that the White Helmets, however, were not linked to any terror organization.

    Meanwhile, a senior Russian lawmaker told Sputnik on Tuesday that Moscow was concerned about Washington's military build-up in the Mediterranean near the Syrian coast.

    "The United States is strengthening its naval task force in the Mediterranean Sea not far from Syria. This is done to prepare for the strike. So, it should be expect that in the event of a provocation and a decision to deliver strikes against Syria, the missiles will be launched both from the air, and from the sea," Alexei Kondratyev, deputy chair of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, said.

    READ MORE: State Department Says US Will Respond to Chemical Weapons Use in Idlib, Syria

    At the same time, Kondratyev expressed hope that Russia's warnings about the forthcoming provocation with the use of chemical weapons in Syria will "be able to cool the hotheads down and convince the coalition to avoid the strikes."

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    Tags:
    toxic agents, chemical attack, preparations, provocation, White Helmets, Russian Defense Ministry, Idlib, Syria
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