There are spies among the Jihadis in Idlib. Movements, storages and plans are well known to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their Russian allies. Recently, the Russian Defense Ministry warned that European intelligence agents were inside Idlib, and planning a chemical attack, which would be blamed on the Syrian and/or Russian military. The professional video troupe, The White Helmets, is also present ready to begin their upcoming role in the drama. French and Belgian agents inside Idlib were observed by informants in their midst, though the French Foreign Ministry accused Russia of lying.
When the battle to free East Aleppo was over in December 2016, the civilians came streaming out, and the next task was to interview them to determine who was an innocent civilian, and who had actually been a terrorist, but had not managed to escape. Under-cover informants were able to identify the innocent from the terrorists. Time and time again, from battle to battle, valuable information was leaked to the SAA through their vast network of informants on the ground, behind enemy lines, among the terrorist groups they were fighting.
Ever since the war began in 2011, chemical weapons use, or merely the threat, has played a role. Syrians watched videos made in 2012 by terrorists in which rabbits were killed with chemicals, in an effort to scare the civilian population, and it worked. People were scared, and the fear was coming from the Turkish border, as the chemicals in the video were clearly made in Turkey. In March 2013, Khan al Assal was attacked by chemical weapons. The dead were 25 civilians and 16 SAA soldiers guarding the town after a previous terrorist attack.
The live TV coverage of the hospital with the gasping victims, and the dead in a local hospital shocked Syrians nationwide, while the Syrian deputy foreign minister, Faisal Meqdad, said Syria would file a protest with the U.N. Security Council, which was followed up by requests by the Syrian government for UN investigators to come and inspect the crime scene and victims. The UN repeatedly stalled citing security concerns, finally in August 2013 the team arrived in Damascus,