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US' 'Provocative Claims' About Chemical Attack in Syria Directed Against Russia

© REUTERS / Ammar AbdullahMen ride a motorbike past a hazard sign at a site hit by an airstrike on Tuesday in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 5, 2017
Men ride a motorbike past a hazard sign at a site hit by an airstrike on Tuesday in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 5, 2017 - Sputnik International
The provocative claims made by the US about an alleged chemical attack in Syria are directed not only against Damascus but Moscow as well, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during her weekly press briefing.

Earlier this week, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer claimed that the United States allegedly "observed potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime."

"It is a harbinger of a new intervention," she said, setting out to describe what she called a typical strategy that the US could apply to Syria.

The claims made in Washington are not new or original, Zakharova pointed out.

"Unfortunately, Washington has voiced new baseless accusations against the Syrian leadership that [Damascus] allegedly is planning a new chemical attack. We know about these statements, which the Washington officials have refused to support with facts. And we don't know what data was used to make such conclusions," Zakharova said. "The situation resembles a large-scale provocation both in the military and information terms, which is directed not only against the Syrian authorities, but also against Russia."

A U.N. chemical weapons expert, wearing a gas mask, holds a plastic bag containing samples from one of the sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria. (File) - Sputnik International
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Zakharova recalled the chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun. On April 4, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces claimed that 80 people were killed and 200 injured in a suspected chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, blaming the Syrian government.

Damascus rejected the accusations and said militants and their allies were responsible.

Yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out that almost three months later, Russia is still trying to push for an OPCW mission to be sent to Syria's Khan Sheikhoun.

Zakharova reminded reporters how, following the Khan Sheikhoun incident, a massive information campaign was launched in mainstream media to put the blame on the sovereign leader of Syria. She said that the latest claim made by the White House would likely trigger a similar campaign.

"Pictures of dead children will emerge in social media," Zakharova assumed, also reminding about the active involvement of the so-called White Helmets, or the Syria Civil Defense in developing the narrative then used by the mainstream media in the US and Europe.

Member of UN investigation team taking samples of sands near a part of a missile that is likely to be one of the chemical rockets according to activists, in Damascus countryside of Ain Terma, Syria - Sputnik International
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She added that all kinds of substances like laundry detergent were used to "prove" that there were chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun, since there has been no credible investigation of the events in Idlib province.

In January 2016, the OPCW announced that Syria's weapons arsenal had been destroyed in accordance with an agreement reached after the 2013 Ghouta attack.

Zakharova later revealed that Moscow has intel indicating that preparations for new Western provocations could be underway in the Syrian towns of Saraqib and Ariha. She didn't specify who could be behind the preparations. 

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