The French Foreign Ministry said Monday that the statement by the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation on the French intelligence’s involvement in preparations of a chemical provocation in Idlib was a lie.
“It is not information, but an outright lie which is habitual for this centre organised by the Russian and Syrian authorities,” a spokesman for the ministry said.
Mr Kupchishin specified that the Belgian intelligence had been filming airstrikes on terrorist weapons caches in Idlib to later accuse Russia of using chemical substances.
On Friday, the head of the Russian Defence Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation, Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin, said that Belgian and French intelligence officers had arrived in Idlib to hold a meeting with the field commanders of the terrorist groups of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham [banned in Russia] and Hurras Al-Din, as well as with the representatives of the White Helmets organization.
This photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows members of the Syrian Civil Defense group helping a wounded man after airstrikes hit Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Thursday, March. 1, 2018
The Idlib de-escalation zone now remains the last major stronghold of terrorists and armed rebels in Syria. In September 2018, ceasefire guarantors Russia and Turkey agreed to set up a 9 to 12-mile deep demilitarised zone in the province, which would be cleared of heavy weapons and militants.
However, despite progress in the withdrawal of weapons and fighters from the area, militants that remain in the area regularly violate the ceasefire by shelling nearby provinces.