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"It will be a nightmare": what's cooking militants in Idlib

The head of the Russian Center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, rear Admiral Alexander Shcherbitsky said that the terrorist group "Hayat Tahrir al-sham"* in the vicinity of the town of Sarmad produced 15 homemade bombs containing unknown toxic substance. They are going to blow up in crowded places in the province of Idlib. Chemical provocation of the Syrian war — in the material RIA Novosti.

Before the civil conflict Arab Republic had an impressive Arsenal of chemical weapons. According to experts, it could produce sarin, mustard gas, Tabun and VX in the amount of up to several hundred tons per year. Fighting chemicals synthesized in five companies in al-Safira, Latakia, Palmyra, Hama and HOMS. According to the official position, toxic substances required Damascus to deter Israel.

That is a chemical weapon nearly caused a full-scale intervention, the U.S. and its allies in Syria in the summer of 2013. In August in the Damascus suburb — Eastern ghouta — the unknown used sarin gas — were lost from 600 to 1300 people. Americans immediately blamed the government of Bashar al-Assad and has threatened to strike at the defensive enterprises of rocket and air strikes. The situation was resolved by the intervention of Russia: Moscow persuaded Damascus to destroy stockpiles of military chemistry under the supervision of international observers.

By 24 April 2014 taken out and destroyed 90 per cent of the Arsenal. Completely of all toxic substances Damascus freed by January 2016. However, during the civil war, the militants of several extremist organizations have seized stockpiles of chemical munitions.

Still don't know how much combat the poisons they managed to steal and how much remains in their caches. But the extremists did not hesitate to use chemical weapons against the Syrian army and against civilians.

In March 2013 Packed with sarin, the missile hit in Aleppo, in Khan al-ASAL, and killed 16 people. Washington predictable and groundlessly accused the Syrian army, but the Russian experts working at the site, made a clear conclusion: the chemical attack took the militants. Until the end of the year poison gas in Syria was used at least ten times.

In 2015, the terrorists of ISIS* and other extremist groups have repeatedly used chemical weapons against Kurdish "detachments of people's self-defense." In particular, in July in the town of al-Hasaka. Victims managed to be avoided, as the Kurds had enough of gas masks. Information the ONS confirmed the independent research organization in the UK.

In March 2016, the leadership of the councils reported that their fighters in Aleppo shelled homemade ammunition with chlorine. In August, a chemical attack was subjected to the Eastern part of the city from the area Sukkari controlled group "Harakat Nur Ad-DIN AZ-Zinki"*. Seven people were killed. On October 30th, the Russian defense Ministry has indicated the rebels had used munitions with white phosphorus and chlorine against the government troops.

By 2017 all of the officially declared stocks of chemical warfare agents Damascus was already destroyed. However, on 4 April in the city of Khan shaykhun, Idlib province there was a release of sarin — 89 victims, 550 injured. Representatives of public organization "White helmets", which many consider to be the accomplices of the militants, told the Western media about the four "extremely weak explosions" allegedly characteristic of the aviation chemical munitions. Of course, the blame was immediately pinned on Assad.

Three days later, American ships struck with cruise missiles "Tomahawk" on the Syrian air base of the Shirt, which supposedly flew the planes with chemical bombs. But the investigation of causes of the tragedy has not really started. According to many experts, the evidence of "White helmets" can not be considered reliable at least because these "volunteers" — not experts in chemical warfare agents.

Damascus and Moscow denied the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian air force, claiming that the only aircraft bombed a plant for production of chemical warfare agents on the territory controlled by the militants. Authorities blamed the attack in Khan Sheyhun at the local branch of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda*.

In October 2017, the state Department unexpectedly announced that the group "Hayat Tahrir al-sham"* associated with "al-Nusra Dzhebhat"*, used chemical weapons in the governorate of Idlib. The official representative of the Ministry of defense of Russia Igor Konashenkov regarded it as recognition by the American side that the terrorists have chemical warfare agents. He recalled that the incident of sarin in Khan Sheyhun — the only known case of use of chemical weapons in Idlib. Therefore, the April the attack was organized by rebels.

Last loud scandal with chemical weapons occurred in January of 2018, when, according to those same White helmets, chemical warfare substances filled in the city of Duma in Eastern ghouta. As a result of allegedly injured 13 civilians, including women and minors.

As evidence, the Western media published standard visuals: some photos of the same baby in an oxygen mask, which for each shot somehow kept in the hands of different people (and different interiors), and images of strange ammunition with a rusty shank and a cylindrical Cup in place of the warhead. He looks more like a makeshift mortar mine of those that so deftly carved the terrorists and not the regular chemical projectile the army.

On far-fetched accusations against the government of Syria has repeatedly spoken Russian diplomats. So, the other day the official representative of the foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova accused in the politicization of the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW), which always stood on the side of the United States.

"Russia together with a number of other responsible members of the international community made in the Hague with the statement, warning against further politicization of the activities of the OPCW, — said Zakharov. — The organization should not remain hostages of the States, to impose her selfish agenda. If their actions weren't to end, the OPCW might be completely paralyzed."

These accusations are not baseless. Many experts have noted that Bashar al-Assad there is absolutely no military necessity to use against militants chemical weapons. The turning point in the civil war was achieved not due to the mythical ammunition with chlorine and sarin, and thanks to the Russian space forces.

*Banned terrorist organization.