POST TIME: 9 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Russia says Syria rebels planning ‘provocation’

Russia says Syria rebels planning  ‘provocation’

MOSCOW: Russia yesterday said it had “irrefutable information” Syrian rebels were planning an imminent “provocation” in Idlib province to justify Western intervention, reports AFP.

Moscow has long said anti-regime groups in the last major rebel bastion were planning an attack on civilians, as Russian and regime strikes on the province intensify.

“Those taking part in the staging of provocations should be fully ready by the evening of September 8,” the Russian military’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

He said Moscow had evidence leaders of “terrorist” groups had gathered in Idlib and were being aided by the White Helmets volunteer rescue service.

In April, the US, France and Britain launched joint missile strikes on Syrian targets in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma that left scores of people dead.

Russia stuck by its ally Syria and angrily insisted the Douma attack was staged by the White Helmets.

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons during the conflict, including in an attack that killed more than 80 people in the Idlib province town of Khan Sheikhun last year.

The regime has upped its rhetoric on retaking control of Idlib and surrounding areas over the past month.