“Jabhat al-Nusra militants along with the White Helmets are preparing a staged chemical attack in the Alghabit and Kalbb Lusa communities situated 25 km (15 miles) to the North-West of Idlib. There are 20 chlorine containers in their possession,” said the Russian General Staff.
“We have reliable information at our disposal that US instructors have trained a number of militant groups in the vicinity of the town of At-Tanf, to stage provocations involving chemical warfare agents in southern Syria,” Russian General Staff spokesman General Sergey Rudskoy said at a news briefing on Saturday.
“Early in March, the saboteur groups were deployed to the southern de-escalation zone to the city of Deraa, where the units of the so-called Free Syrian Army are stationed.”
“They are preparing a series of chemical munitions explosions. This fact will be used to blame the government forces. The components to produce chemical munitions have been already delivered to the southern de-escalation zone under the guise of humanitarian convoys of a number of NGOs.”
The planned provocations will be widely covered in the Western media and will ultimately be used as a pretext by the US-led coalition to launch strikes on Syria, Rudskoy warned.
“The provocations will be used as a pretext by the United States and its allies to launch strikes on military and government infrastructure in Syria,” the official stated.
“We’re registering the signs of the preparations for the possible strikes. Strike groups of the cruise missile carriers have been formed in the east of the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf and Red Sea.”
Another false flag chemical attack is being prepared in the province of Idlib by the “Al-Nusra Front terrorist group, in coordination with the White Helmets,” Rudskoy warned. The militants have already received 20 containers of chlorine to stage the incident, he said.
‘We were about to die’: E. Ghouta civilians say militants used them as human shields & barred escape
“They fired at us, they did not want us to flee at all, they fired at the car wheels so that we could not flee… There was no flour, no bread, no water at all. They let no one out,” one man told RT’s Ruptly video agency near Hush Nasri.
“They [militants] were living with us, next to our houses and inside them. They would open a road amongst the houses to be able to move. They would not leave, and we would not dare to say ‘get out.’ Then the shelling was over and it is us who became part of the human shields. We were not allowed to move,” a woman told Ruptly.
The armed groups holding out in Eastern Ghouta, a militant-held suburb near the Syrian capital of Damascus, continued to fire at civilians even as they were fleeing their homes, leaving several people injured.
“They were besieging us inside the basements, and we were strictly prevented from getting out at all, they made us starve… They were even firing at us as we were moving out, we were targeted by snipers, we were about to die, someone was shot,” one woman recalled.
“We had no food or water. We wanted to flee but they prevented us. We fled against their will, they [militants] fired at us, half of the people were shot. Look at our children, bare feet, hungry, and without clothes, but [the militants] showed no mercy, they kept the commodities in stores for their benefit while our children starved to death, and they fired at us even as we wanted to get out,” another woman added.
Desperate, scared and starved, people hoped to be rescued.
“We wanted to get out for a long time, and we wanted the Syrian Arab Army to take us out, but we could not. We were detained and put inside houses, and they fired at us, a lot of people were injured.”
Over 30,000 people have left towns in Eastern Ghouta on Saturday morning alone, Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin, the spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry’s Reconciliation Center for Syria, said, adding that “on average over 3,000 people per hour” are passing through the humanitarian corridor.
Daily humanitarian pauses for Eastern Ghouta began on February 28, as part of the Syrian Army’s and Russia’s efforts to help civilians leave the combat zone. The Russian military has repeatedly noted that the militants use civilians as human shields, targeting those trying to flee the terrorist enclave.
On Monday, militants killed at least nine civilians during protests against being held hostage in the city.
“Terrorists severely suppress any protest actions from the population of Eastern Ghouta, who are forbidden to leave the area under threat of death,” Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia’s General Staff, said. At least 15 civilians are known to have been killed and another 133 were injured in the past month. “Terrorists and so-called moderate opposition that joined them forcibly hold civilians, using them as human shields,” the general added.
The total number of those evacuated from the besieged enclave has reached nearly 45,000 people, Russian General Staff spokesman General Sergey Rudskoy said on Saturday afternoon.