The White Helmets and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) are still capable of carrying out provocations involving chemical weapons in the area, Russian deputy envoy to the UN Vladimir Safronkov stated during a meeting of the UN Security Council on October 29.
According to the diplomat, “suspicious” movements of chemical weapons across the de-escalation zone continue.
Safronkov recalled that Idlib de-escalation agreements have been a temporary measure from the very start and nobody has dropped the goal to eliminate terrorists in this part of Syria. He stated that militant groups violate agreements, including the ceasefire regime, on a cosntant basis and Russia keeps its right to assist the Syrian military operation there if provocaitions continue.
Last weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin also warned that Russia can employ a military option to provocations in northwestern Syria.
Earlier this month, a series of reports appeared that the White Helmets and their Al-Qaeda-linked partners had moved containers with chemical weapons to different villages in the Idlib de-escalation zone.