MOSCOW, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- The United States and its allies are planning to carry out new missile strikes on Syria on the pretext of a provocation that the Syrian government is behind a "chemical attack," the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday.
However, the planned "chemical attack" by Syrian government forces in Syria's Idlib province is actually staged by the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham terrorist group, previously known as "Jabhat al-Nusra" with the help of British personnel, the ministry's spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said, citing information confirmed by several independent sources.
Eight tanks of chlorine and a special group of militants, who were trained in handling poisonous substances under the supervision of a British private military company, have been brought to Idlib for the chemical attack, Konashenkov said.
"The execution of this provocation with the active participation of the British special services is set to serve as another pretext for the U.S., the UK and France to inflict missile and air strikes on Syria's state and economic facilities," Konashenkov said.
To this end, a Sullivans destroyer of the U.S. Navy with 56 cruise missiles on board arrived in the Persian Gulf a few days ago, and a B-1B strategic bomber of the U.S. Air Force armed with 24 air-to-surface cruise missiles was redeployed to the Al Udeid air base in Qatar, according to the spokesman.
The Russian spokesman said that the actions of Western countries are "aimed at another drastic aggravation of the situation in the Middle East region and the disruption of the peace process on the territory of Syria."
On April 4, 2017, a reported toxic gas attack hit the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib, killing over 80 people and wounding scores of others.
Two days later, the United States launched 59 cruise missiles against the Shayrat military base in central Syria, where Washington believes airplanes carrying chemical weapons took off.
The United States and many Western countries blamed the Assad government for the chemical attacks but Syria and Russia insisted that it's a plot by the West in a bid to overturn the Assad administration.