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Russia Says Syria Militants Staging Chemical Attack

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Russia said Tuesday that Syrian militants had begun working on film footage that would be presented to the world as the aftermath of a chemical attack by the Syrian army.

During the seven-year Syrian conflict, the West has accused Damascus on a number of occasions of using chemical weapons against the civilian population.

The Syrian government and Moscow have consistently denied those claims, pointing the finger at the militants instead.

The Russian defense ministry, citing Idlib residents, said film crews from several Middle Eastern TV channels -- as well as "a regional branch of a leading US news channel" -- had arrived for the shoot in the city of Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib.

"By the end of the day", all the footage should be handed over to the TV channels which would release it through social media, the defense ministry said.

According to the "scenario," White Helmets members will be "helping residents of Jisr ash-Shugur" after the alleged use of barrel bombs by the Syrian army, it said.

Two vessels containing chlorine had already been brought to the area from Kherbet al-Jawz, the ministry added.

Real chemicals would be used to make the footage appear more authentic and also to provide samples of allegedly contaminated soil from the scene, the ministry said.

Idlib province and adjacent rural areas form the largest piece of territory still occupied by militants, worn down by a succession of government victories in recent months.

For weeks, Syrian Army troops backed by Russia and Iran have massed around Idlib's periphery.

Russian officials have accused militants of staging chemical attacks in the past in areas that the Syrian Army had been preparing to retake.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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