Moscow doubts that Washington will be ready to counter the scenario of a provocation with chemical weapons in Syria
Russia is doing the best it can to prevent a provocation involving the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Tuesday.
“We believe the Jabhat al-Nusra (terror group, now called Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, outlawed in Russia – TASS), which has changed its name, is now close to carrying out a very serious provocation in the Idlib area with the use of a chemical agent. All that will be filmed [by representatives of] the White Helmets [non-governmental organization]. After that, a smear campaign will begin about the use of chemical weapons by the regime [of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] against its people, and that will be used as a pretext for a massive military strike against Syria. This scenario is so obvious that we are doing our utmost to prevent it from being implemented,” he said.
“The leadership of the United States and Germany can prevent it by joint efforts. But I doubt that Washington will be ready to seriously counter the implementation of this scheme, which is a provocation and is destructive for normalization processes in Syria,” the senior Russian diplomat said, commenting on remarks by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said Russia should influence Damascus to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Idlib in a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump.
Moscow doubts that Washington will be ready to counter the scenario of a provocation with chemical weapons in Syria, he added.
“The leadership of the United States and Germany can quite prevent it by joint efforts. But I have doubts that Washington will be ready to seriously counter the implementation of this scheme provocative and destructive for normalization processes in Syria,” the senior Russian diplomat said.
“We want to call on colleagues in Washington and Berlin, using the opportunities that they have, to influence the armed opposition members and terrorist structures – in the latter case I’m speaking about the US, not about Germany – with which they retain contact,” the deputy foreign minister said, commenting on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump’s appeal to Moscow to influence Damascus regarding the situation in the governorate.
Russia is negotiating with Syria’s “moderate opposition” to reach a peaceful settlement over Idlib, “which is virtually the last de-escalation zone”,Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in Abakan on Tuesday.
“Over there tough negotiations are being held on all levels including the leaders of the ‘moderate opposition,'” he said.
“The work being conducted there resembles that which is being carried out in the south de-escalation zone at the border with Jordan and the Golan heights in Israel,” he added.