MOSCOW, August 28. /TASS/. 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.