Syria: U.S. Chemical Weapons Warning Attempt to ‘Justify’ Aggression Against Assad

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2015, file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad gives an interview with the BBC in Damascus, Syria. On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Assad said in an interview with Sputnik, a Russian state news agency, that Syria needs …
SANA via AP, File

On Thursday, Syria and Russia denied U.S. allegations that the Assad regime was planning another chemical weapons attack. The Syrian Foreign Ministry accused Washington of seeking a “pretext” to launch new military strikes against Syria.

The Syrians said the American allegations were “misleading” and “completely baseless” fabrications intended to “justify a new aggression on Syria under ill-founded pretexts.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry chipped in to claim it has information that Syrian rebels have created false videos to frame the Assad regime for conducting such an attack, naming the towns of Saraqib and Arihah in the Idlib province as likely venues for such a “false flag” operation.

“The campaign, which was started by the US and is being backed by London and Paris, on the alleged chemical attack that is claimed to be prepared by Damascus, is not original, it’s a textbook script, which has already been used in several countries in the region,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

She went on to claim that the 2013 chemical attack that infamously crossed President Barack Obama’s “red line” against weapons of mass destruction was also a false flag operation that nearly triggered “direct Western intervention in Syria,” but the situation was “salvaged only by Russia’s decisive stance.”

“The story will be the same: an incident happens on the territory controlled by the terrorists, civilian casualties follow. The so-called opposition – de facto the same jihadists, not very different from ISIS and Al-Qaeda, but who are still getting help from the US and allies – announce yet another ‘crime by the regime,’” said Zakharova.

She claimed Russia was a much a victim of this disinformation campaign and suggested the goal was to scuttle the next round of Syria peace talks led by Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

The Associated Press notes that Russia still insists the April chemical attack that led to a U.S. cruise missile strike against Syria’s Sharyat airbase was actually caused by forces opposed to the Assad regime, who were stockpiling chemical weapons in a structure targeted by Syrian warplanes and that footage of the gas victims was fabricated to frame Damascus for war crimes.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, was more measured than his spokeswoman in his comments on Thursday, suggesting that U.S. intelligence about a potential Syrian WMD deployment is flawed, and Syrian extremists want to manipulate the Americans into attacking Assad.

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