On Tuesday, Rear Adm. Alexander Grinkevich, deputy head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Syrian Reconciliation, reported in a daily briefing that the center had evidence Islamist rebels in Idlib were preparing a new provocation using chlorine in Sfuhon, a village in southern Idlib Governorate.
"The Russian Reconciliation Center has received information about the preparation by militants of illegal armed groups of another attempt to organize a provocation using poisonous substances in the southern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone to accuse the Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons against civilians," Grinkevich said. He added that the White Helmets, a group with known links to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government, had also arrived in Sfuhon.
Tuesday's report is just the latest incident of rebels in Idlib attempting to stage such an incident. Supposed use of chemical weapons in the civil war by Damascus has repeatedly been used by Western powers as an excuse to attack the Syrian government, either through international pressure or airstrikes.