US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated that despite having a "fairly good penetration" of the Syrian opposition groups, the Pentagon had not seen any evidence indicating that the militants in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib have the ability to conduct a chemical weapons attack.
"We have zero intelligence that shows the opposition has any chemical capability," Mattis pointed out.
His remarks came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in late July that "there is no doubt" that militants in Syria were preparing a false flag chemical incident, and that Russia has handed the relevant proof the US, the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that the militants planned to use chemical weapons in Syria's Idlib province, adding that the US can use this as a cause for a new attack on Syria.
In mid-April, Russian chemical defense specialist Alexander Rodionov announced that Russian troops had found a warehouse containing the raw materials used in the production of chemical weapons in the newly-liberated Syrian city of Douma, where he noted that "a cylinder with chlorine was found in the warehouse" among other things. Chlorine gas was first used as a weapon in the First World War and was used in the Iraq conflict.
"It can be concluded that this laboratory was used by illegal armed groups for the production of poisonous substances," Rodionov underscored.