05:59 GMT +316 June 2019
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    Syrian northwestern city of Idlib.

    Paris Denies Involvement of Its Intelligence in Preparing Provocation in Idlib

    © AFP 2019 / Mohamed al-Bakour
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    PARIS (Sputnik) - The French Foreign Ministry said Monday that the statement by the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation on the French intelligence's involvement in preparations of a chemical provocation in Idlib was a lie.

    "It is not information, but an outright lie which is habitual for this centre organised by the Russian and Syrian authorities," a spokesman for the ministry said.

    Mr Kupchishin specified that the Belgian intelligence had been filming airstrikes on terrorist weapons caches in Idlib to later accuse Russia of using chemical substances.

    READ MORE: Russian MoD: French, Belgian Intel Officers Plan Chemical ‘Provocation' in Idlib

    On Friday, the head of the Russian Defence Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation, Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin, said that Belgian and French intelligence officers had arrived in Idlib to hold a meeting with the field commanders of the terrorist groups of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham [banned in Russia] and Hurras Al-Din, as well as with the representatives of the White Helmets organization.

    Syria was plunged in a military conflict in 2011. Victory over the Daesh* terrorist group was declared in late 2017. 

    The Idlib de-escalation zone now remains the last major stronghold of terrorists and armed rebels in Syria. In September 2018, ceasefire guarantors Russia and Turkey agreed to set up a 9 to 12-mile deep demilitarised zone in the province, which would be cleared of heavy weapons and militants.

    However, despite progress in the withdrawal of weapons and fighters from the area, militants that remain in the area regularly violate the ceasefire by shelling nearby provinces.

    *Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/the Islamic State), a terrorist group banned in Russia

    Related:

    Militants Preparing Staged Chemical Attacks in Idlib, Syria - Russia's UN Envoy
    Russian MoD Records Shelling at 16 Locations in Syria's Idlib De-Escalation Zone
    Turkey, Russia Start Patrolling Idlib De-Escalation Zone – Defence Minister
    White Helmets Preparing to Film Staged Chem Attacks in Idlib Hospitals - Moscow
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    intelligence, White Helmets, Russian Defense Ministry, Syria, France
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