DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria’s government and its ally Russia accused Washington on Thursday of concocting a “provocation” in Syria, which would then be blamed on President Bashar Assad’s government as alleged use of chemical weapons to justify an attack.
In a statement carried by the official news agency, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said it rejects U.S. allegations that Syria was preparing for a chemical weapons attack, describing such accusations as “misleading” and “completely baseless.”
It said the objective of such allegations was to “justify a new aggression on Syria under ill-founded pretexts,” similar to what happened in April when the U.S. struck a Syrian air base, which it said had been used to stage a chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed nearly 90.
Earlier this week, the White House has warned that Assad is preparing for another chemical attack and said that the Syrian ruler will “pay a heavy price” if he unleashes it.
Also Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow has received information that Syrian rebels have already fabricated video materials to accuse Damascus of a chemical attack.
She said that according to the information Russia has, Syrian towns of Saraqib and Arihah could serve as venues for the “provocation.” Both towns are located in the province of Idlib in northwestern Syria and are controlled by the rebels.
She claimed that such action could be aimed at derailing the next round of Syria peace talks brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran, which is set for next week in…
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