Russia accuses Syrian rebels of preparing Idlib chemical attack


Moscow's accusation comes after US President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton this week said Washington will respond "very strongly" if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad uses chemical weapons in an offensive to retake Idlib, one of the last rebel held provinces in the country.

About it reports Bloomberg with reference to the statement of U.S. presidential Advisor for national security John Bolton during a meeting in Geneva with Russian security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

According to a report released Saturday, National Security Adviser John Bolton issued the warning to his Russian Federation counterpart earlier this week.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov over phone to discuss the ongoing challenges in Syria and the U.S.

The information came after USA officials claimed they possess information that Assad might be planning a chemical weapons attack in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Turkey has already hosted some 3.5 million Syrian refugees.

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He voiced concern over the possibility that the Assad regime and Iran could use chemical weapons "as probably this is the only way to carry out such a military attack". Assad's army, with Russian air support, has been mustering troops and tanks around Idlib, the last stronghold of Syrian opposition groups now dominated by jihadists.

Speaking about the agenda of the summit, Lavrov said that it will include the several issues. They've now largely given up on the goal of toppling Assad, and are focusing instead on curbing Iranian influence in Syria.

As Western-backed moderate Sunni rebels have surrendered or retreated in the past year, Washington appears to have given up on its longtime goal of toppling Assad and has focused on two other objectives: stopping any further use of chemical weapons by Assad and curbing Iranian influence in Syria.

"Possible Turkish efforts to send the rebels to their countries of origin would fail as no country would admit them since they are seen as terrorists", said Solmazturk, who chairs Incek debates at the Ankara-based 21st Century Turkey Institute.

In April, the US, France and Britain launched joint missile strikes on Syrian targets in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma that left scores dead. Despite Trump's periodic pledges to pull troops out of Syria, Ryabkov said Russian Federation is convinced the USA wants to stay there for the foreseeable future and is blocking progress toward an peaceful settlement. Ryabkov said that Russian Federation views the American demand for a radically reduced Iranian role in the Middle East as "out of touch with reality".