Militants of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), aided by British intelligence, are preparing to stage a chemical attack in northern Syria that will be used as a pretext for a new missile strike by the U.S., the UK and France on facilities of the Damascus government, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced on August 25.
“According to the information confirmed simultaneously by several independent sources, the active terrorist grouping Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is plotting a new provocation with the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government forces against civilians in the Idlib province … A special group of terrorists who have been trained by specialists of the UK private military company Olive to handle chemical warfare agents has also arrived in the area of Jisr ash-Shughur,” Konashenkov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Konashenkov revealed that the U.S. is already preparing for the new missile strike. According to the statment, the US Navy’s destroyer Sullivans with 56 cruise missiles on board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago while a B-1B strategic bomber of the US Air Force armed with AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface missiles was redeployed to the al-Udeid air base in Qatar.
“The actions by Western countries contrary to public statements are aimed at another dramatic escalation of the situation in the Middle East and at disrupting the peace process on the territory of Syria,” Konashenkov warned.
Earlier this week, the U.S., the UK and Franc released a joint statement, in which they condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Damascus government. The three countries vowed to “respond appropriately to any further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.”
U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a strike on the Shayrat air base in center Syria on April 7 of 2017 in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun. Later on April 14 of 2018, the UK and France joined the U.S. in a second strike on Syria, which was promoted as a response to the alleged chemical attack in the Damascus subrub of Duma.
Some experts believe that the U.S. and its allies may indeed strike Syria again as they are desperate in their attempts to pressure the Damascus government and its allies in any possible way.