TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A Russian military official said militants from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) and the White Helmets organization are planning to stage a chemical weapons attack in the south of the Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria, Russian media reported on Friday.

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“Moreover, the Russian Reconciliation Center received information that leaders of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group, together with members of the White Helmets pseudo-humanitarian organization, plan to stage the use of poisonous substances and destruction of civilian infrastructure facilities in settlements in the southern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone,” Chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center Yury Borenkov said on Thursday, according to the TASS news agency.  

“The aim of the provocation is to prepare photo and video materials to distribute them on the internet, in Middle Eastern and Western media, accusing the Syrian government forces of using chemical weapons against civilians and of delivering indiscriminate strikes,” he added.

Last month, the Russian Defense Ministry also said it had information indicating that terrorists of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the White Helmets have been plotting provocations involving staged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib.

“Via several channels, we received confirmation of reports that militants from the group of field commander Abu Malek, which is a part of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, jointly with the White Helmets organization, plan to carry out provocations involving staged air raids and use of chemical weapons in populated areas of the Idlib de-escalation zone,” the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service said in a statement in late November.