Russia’s Defense Ministry has said that a fake chemical attack on civilians has been filmed in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.
The ministry said on Aug. 25 that a provocation using chemical weapons in Idlib was being prepared by al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front with the assistance of U.K. special services. Meanwhile, U.S. officials have said that they have evidence that Syrian government forces are preparing chemical weapons ahead of a planned assault on Idlib.
“A staged provocation of so-called ‘chemical weapons’ used by the Syrian army against civilians is currently being filmed in Jisr al-Shughur,” the ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news wires Tuesday.
Citing “information from locals,” the Russian ministry said two containers with a chlorine-based toxic agent had been brought from a neighboring town “for added authenticity.”
“According to the script, the staged ‘rescue’ scenes by ‘Civil Defense’ (‘White Helmets’) are planned after an alleged Syrian army use of so-called ‘barrel bombs’ with poisonous agents,” it said.
The footage was filmed by several Middle Eastern news channel crews and one unnamed U.S. broadcaster, the Defense Ministry said.
“By the end of the day, it should be circulated across the editorial offices of TV channels to be aired after being posted on social media,” it predicted.
The United States will use the “false flag” poisoning as a casus belli for retaliation, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser said the United States, Britain and France had agreed that another use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would result in a "much stronger response" compared to previous airstrikes.
Reuters contributed reporting to this article.