Russian state media channels, in a near simultaneous blitz of information, have issued breaking alerts this morning that anti-Assad insurgents in Idlib have begun filming “fake footage of chemical attacks” based on Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) statements. The Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation says the “fake footage of chemical attacks” is expected to be delivered to various TV channels and Western journalists before the end of the day Tuesday.
Russia’s Sputnik News indicates based on official Moscow sources:
According to the information received from inhabitants of Idlib province, militants are now filming a staged provocation in the city of Jisr al-Shugur, where “chemical weapons” are depicted as being used by the Syrian army against civilians. The film crews of several Middle Eastern TV channels arrived in Jisr al-Shugur in the morning, as well as the regional affiliate of one of the main American television news networks”, the Reconciliation Center said.
Idlib residents have begun donning ‘protective gear’ according to an Al-Jazeera report. Image source: Reuters
Jisr al-Shugur is a key al-Qaeda held town in Idlib Province, specifically under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Nusrah Front, or al-Qaeda). There have been international journalists inside Jisr al-Shugur over the past weeks.
Official Russian military sources also say two containers with chlorine-based toxic substance have been brought to Jisr al-Shugur; however, the sources did not cite any specific intelligence or provide evidence for the claim.
The Russian MoD described, per Sputnik:
The plot envisages staged scenes showing ‘activists’ of the Civil Defence (“White Helmets”) ‘helping’ the residents of Jisr al-Shughur after the Syrian army allegedly used the so-called barrel bombs with poisonous substances,” the center said.
Meanwhile Russian channel RT also featured the charges in breaking news, describing:
Several Middle East TV channels and a local branch of a leading US news channel have been sent to the city of Jisr al-Shughur in Syria’s Idlib governorate to produce the footage needed for the provocation.
This comes the same morning as a new Wall Street Journal report confirms that the White House is now in direct talks with the U.K.