Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his concern over terrorist activities in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, the RIA news agency cites the Kremlin as saying.
President Vladimir Putin discussed the latest developments in Syria’s last stronghold of militants with members of Russia’s Security Council on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying.
Syrian army troops are preparing to launch a full-scale military operation against different factions of militants that have practically held hostage the inhabitants of Idlib for a long time.
Syria and Russia have warned that the US, along with Britain and France, is gearing up for a new military attack against Syria as the army prepares for the liberation of Idlib.
On Wednesday, Syria’s official news agency SANA quoted Russia’s Defense Ministry as saying that the foreign-backed Takfiri militants have abducted 22 children with their relatives from Syria’s Aleppo as well as a group of orphans to use them in a staged chemical weapons attack in Idlib to be blamed on the Syrian government.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Tuesday that the United States is using internationally-banned chemical weapons to invent a pretext for a military campaign against his conflict-plagued Arab country.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with English-language al-Hayat magazine, Muallem said it is not the first time that chemical attack claims have been used to justify an attack on Syria.
Both Damascus and Moscow, a close ally of the Arab country, have already submitted proofs and evidence to the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) showing that terrorists in Idlib are preparing to set up another false flag chemical attack to frame Damascus and pave the way for the US-led coalition to attack Syrian government troops.
In an address to a key trilateral summit, hosted by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and also attended by Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Tehran on September 7, Putin said militants are preparing provocations, including the use of chemical weapons, in Idlib.
“The remaining groups of extremists are currently concentrated in the de-escalation zone in the province of Idlib. Terrorists are making attempts to disrupt the ceasefire, moreover, they are carrying out and preparing various kinds of provocations, including the use of chemical weapons,” the Russian president said.
Russia will keep bombing Idlib if need be: Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said in Berlin on Friday that Moscow would keep bombing targets of terrorists in Idlib Province if need be.
According to the Interfax news agency, Lavrov, however, emphasized that Russia would also create humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee.
The top Russian diplomat emphasized that his country’s air force would strike terrorist weapons-making facilities as and when it found out about them.
Moscow would also encourage local reconciliation deals, he pointed out.
The Russian foreign minister also added that the Syrian government was not preparing a major offensive against the militant-held city.
“What is being presented at the moment as the beginning of a Russian-backed offensive by Syrian forces is not a faithful representation of the facts,” Lavrov said, adding, “Syrian forces and we ourselves are simply reacting to the attacks coming from the zone of Idlib.”
Addressing a press conference in Moscow on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said her country is concerned about the attempts being made by the United States to prepare the global public opinion for new military aggression against Syria.
“Regarding the international political point of view, the most serious concern is using of a very serious range of opportunities by Washington: from statements by officials to comments by biased media, the goal seems to be the preparation of public opinion for … new aggression against Syria,” she said.
Washington has accused the Syrian government of attacking civilians with chemical weapons in previous operations, including in Douma near Damascus and in Khan Shaykhun in Idlib. Syrian authorities have strongly denied any involvement in either case, saying the attacks had been carried out by militants to slow Syria’s progress in the fight against terror.