DAMASCUS, SYRIA — Russian military sources, as cited by Sputnik News, have reported that footage depicting what they have identified as a false-flag chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Idlib province is currently being filmed and is expected to be sent to different international television channels before the end of the day. The news has sparked concern that the promised retaliation from the U.S., U.K. and France could be less than a day away.
The Russian military sources — who work for the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation, which oversees Russia’s legal military presence in Syria — stated that “militants are now filming a staged provocation in the city of Jisr al-Shughur, where ‘chemical weapons’ are depicted as being used by the Syrian army against civilians.” Based on information “received from inhabitants of Idlib province,” the Russian military also stated that “film crew[s] of several Middle Eastern TV channels arrived in Jisr al-Shughur in the morning” along with “the regional affiliate of one of the main American television news networks.”
The report notes, unsurprisingly, that the staged event gives a prominent role to the Syrian White Helmets, who will be shown “’helping’ residents of Jisr al-Shughur after the Syrian army allegedly used the so-called barrel bombs with poisonous substances.” It also states that the “chemical weapon” to be used in the attack is two containers “loaded with a chlorine-based toxic substance.” At the time the Russian military issued the warning of an imminent “false-flag” chemical weapons attack, these containers were located at a grain storage site.
These warnings from the Russian military come after the Syrian and Russian governments presented evidence to the UN Security Council showing that Idlib “rebels” linked to Al Qaeda were planning to stage a chemical weapons attack in order to provoke foreign military intervention against the Syrian government.
Notably, a recent Wall Street Journal report stated that anonymous U.S. officials had confirmed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had personally “approved” the use of “chlorine gas” against civilians in Idlib. That report also stated that President Trump may attack Syria regardless of whether or not a chemical weapons attack is alleged to have taken place.
In recent weeks, Trump administration officials have made it clear that any accusation of chemical weapons use made against the Assad-led government will be met with an immediate response — as the U.S., along with its allies France and the U.K., will not wait for an independent investigation into any alleged incident before launching military strikes against the Syrian military and potentially Russian and Iranian forces in Syria, despite the fact that this could spark a wider conflict.
U.S. officials have already stated that any chemical weapons use in Idlib will be immediately blamed on the Assad-led government regardless of the accusation’s veracity. This position has been taken despite the fact that the U.S. has admitted that Syrian “rebels” in the Idlib province possess chemical weapons. In addition, the U.S. government has been developing military options to use in attacking the Syrian government before any such attack is alleged to have taken place.
Key role of White Helmets
Furthermore, the involvement of the White Helmets is key, as this group — funded by foreign governments including the U.S. and the U.K. and founded by a former member of U.K. intelligence — has been instrumental in weaving past “chemical weapon attack” narratives that have later unraveled, such as during the incident in Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017 and the incident in Eastern Ghouta in April 2018.
In Khan Sheikhoun, no official investigation was ever conducted, owing to the fact that the area is held by Al Qaeda-linked terrorists, while an investigation into the Eastern Ghouta incident ruled out the use of the sarin nerve gas that the U.S. had claimed at the time had been employed. Subsequent reports revealed that the Eastern Ghouta incident likely never happened at all and was likely instead to have been completely staged in order to provoke foreign military intervention.
The fact that a Western government-funded group embedded with Al Qaeda-linked terrorists — i.e., the White Helmets — is set to be used as the only source for proving the veracity of an alleged attack speaks volumes, as it is a clear and familiar case of Western governments using a proxy to manufacture the justification for deepening Western military involvement in Syria.
Indeed, the U.S. recently announced that it would maintain its illegal military presence in Syria “indefinitely” after “redefining its goals” to again include regime change in Damascus and efforts to contain Iran’s regional influence. The U.K. and France, the other two nations set to join the U.S. in any upcoming military intervention, have also had boots on the ground in Syria for some time.
It seems that the millions of dollars these governments have paid to the White Helmets will now pay off with interest, as a staged provocation that is the group’s specialty will offer a new justification for the continued military presence of these countries inside Syria — a convenient, pre-prepared “solution” for a problem of their own making.
Top Photo | This citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a member of UN investigation team taking samples of sands near a part of a missile is likely to be one of the chemical rockets according to activists, in Damascus countryside of Ain Terma, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. U.N. chemical weapons experts headed to a Damascus suburb on Wednesday for a new tour of areas struck by a purported poison gas attack, activists said, as Western powers laid the groundwork for a possible punitive strike and the U.N. chief pleaded for more time for diplomacy. (AP Photo/United media office of Arbeen)
Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.