12:52 GMT31 October 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as Al-Nusra Front*) plan staging provocations in Syria's Idlib, with an aim to accuse Damascus again of using chemical weapons, the head of the Russian Defence Ministry's Centre for Syria Reconciliation said on Wednesday.

    "According to the information that the centre for reconciliation of the opposing sides has received from locals, militants from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist organisation plan staging provocations near the settlements of Sfukhon, Fatterah and Fleifel in the Idlib province with an aim to accuse the governmental forces of using chemical weapons", Rear Admiral Alexander Sherbitsky said at a briefing.

    The militants have already created at least 15 improvised explosive devices, stuffed with unidentified toxic agent, the Russian military added.

    In December last year, the Russian military said terrorists were preparing to stage chemical attacks and the destruction of infrastructure in Idlib. The purpose of these provocations is the preparation of photo and video materials for distribution on Internet resources, Middle Eastern and Western media publications with allegations that Syrian government forces were using chemical weapons against civilians and conducting indiscriminate attacks, Maj. Gen. Yuri Borenkov said.

    *Al-Nusra Front (also known as Jabhat al-Nusra, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, or al-Qaeda in Syria) is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia

    militants, Russian military, Idlib, Syria
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