US-backed militants planning chemical attack in Syria: Russian military

Russian defense ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. The Russian military says radiolocation data show that the missile that downed a Malaysian airliner over warring eastern Ukraine in 2014 was not fired from territory controlled by Russia-backed rebels. The claim on Monday came two days before a Dutch-led investigative team is to release a report on where the missile was fired from that hit flight MH17, killing all 298 people aboard. The team is gathering evidence for a possible criminal trial. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Moscow, June 12: Militants of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” with the assistance of U.S. military special operations forces are mulling a fake chemical attack in Syria, the Russian military said.

The intelligence was confirmed by three independent channels in Syria, said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov in a statement on Monday.

A Xinhua report quoted Igor as saying that the Free Syrian Army militants have brought chlorine cylinders to a settlement in the Syrian province of Deir al-Zour to fake a chemical attack by the Syrian government troops against civilians.

A video of the staged attack, after it is disseminated in the western media, will serve as a new pretext for the US-led coalition to strike Syrian targets and justify an offensive by militants against Syrian government forces on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, he said.

The ministry said it is intolerable to use such a provocation to destabilize Syria, Konashenkov said.

The United States, along with Britain and France, launched joint airstrikes on military targets in Syria on April 14, in response to what they said was the Syrian military’s use of chemical weapons in Douma, a then rebel-held town in Eastern Ghouta near the Syrian capital of Damascus on April 7. However, Russia said that no traces of the chemical attack had been found and that the event was staged. (IANS)