Damascus (GPA) – Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova claims Syrian intelligence shows rebels preparing to use chemical weapons in southern Syria.

Maria Zakharova issued a statement today at a Moscow press conference, saying rebels are preparing a chemical attack in residential areas of Daraa.

According to her, Russian intelligence has found that the group Shabab al-Sunnah (Youth of Sunna Forces), is currently storing “several munitions filled with toxic agents” in a “warehouse located in the Bosra al-Sham town.”

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Zakharova added that the militants are expected to “use these weapons to attack one of the areas in the Daraa province, putting the blame on the government forces.” She said these attacks would most likely occur in the neighborhoods of Haran, Nawa, Inkhil, Jamila, Tafas, and Daira.

DIP RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs (photographer Nikita Kochuk)

Jahbat al-Nusra and ‘Moderate Rebels’

She also used the press conference to address the attempted rebranding of al Qaeda affiliate Jahbat al-Nusra; now named Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. The group is still considered a terrorist organization by Russia and Zakharova confirmed that this position wasn’t going to change. The US also still considers the group a terrorist organization, but Fateh al-Sham has allied and worked with rebels backed by Washington on numerous occasions.

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Zakharova also pointed out that “The UN Security Council has clearly classified Jabhat al-Nusra and other structures affiliated to Al-Qaeda as terrorist, with all ensuing consequences.” This concerns Russia due to the fact that the elements of al-Nusra are currently attempting to unite thousands of militants in Syria under a larger banner in an effort to continue to drag out the war according to Russian Colonel, General Igor Korobov.

She also spoke on the current tensions surrounding the Korean Peninsula, in response to a rocket launched over Japan by the DPRK on Monday. Zakharova urged all “parties to be restrained, to behave responsibly, and to recede from military rhetoric and military actions.”


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