The Russian Defense Ministry has warned that the United States may use a fake chemical attack carried out by foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib as a pretext to launch possible airstrikes on Syrian government forces.
“The United States keeps building up the group of cruise missile carriers in the Middle East region, connected with the preparation of a regular provocation with alleged ‘use of chemical weapons’ in the province of Idlib,” Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Monday.
Konashenkov added that the destroyer USS The Sullivans armed with 56 cruise missiles had arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago, while a US В-1В bomber carrying 24 air-to-surface AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles has been deployed at al-Udeid airbase in Qatar for this purpose.
Additionally, guided-missile destroyer USS Ross armed with 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles entered the Mediterranean on August 25, and the vessel is capable of hitting any target in Syria.
The warning came only a day after Konashenkov said foreign special agents are preparing to commit major provocations in Syria by means of chemical weapons.
“According to the information that the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria received today from the residents of the Idlib, English-speaking foreign experts have arrived in the Hbit settlement south of Idlib de-escalation zone to stage a ‘chemical attack’ using chlorine-loaded missiles,” the senior Russian military official said on Sunday.
Konashenkov highlighted that militant rocket launchers will strike Kafr Zayta settlement within the next two days.
“The interested trans-regional forces are once again preparing major provocations in Syria using poisonous substances to severely destabilize the situation and disrupt the steady dynamics of the ongoing peace process,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service announced in a statement on Monday that the Admiral Grigorovich and the Admiral Essen, two frigates of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, are heading to the Mediterranean Sea in order to bolster Russia’s military presence in the region amid reports that the US is preparing to strike Syria.
The US has warned it would respond to a chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces with retaliatory strikes, stressing that the attacks would be stronger than those conducted by American, British and French forces back in April.
Early on April 14, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack against the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.
Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, an allegation rejected by the Syrian government.
Pentagon said in a statement that at least 58 missiles had struck Shayrat airbase in the western Syrian city of Homs. An unnamed US official said Tomahawk missiles were used in the strikes.
The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force said four Tornado GR4s fighter jets joined in the operation, while France said it had deployed Mirage and Rafale fighter jets.
Russian General Staff spokesman General Sergei Rudskoy, however, said Syrian air defense systems had intercepted at least 71 cruise missiles fired during the US-led aggression.