Despite an agreement with Turkey for a demilitarized zone in northwest Syria, Russia is maintaining its disinformation campaign of a “false flag” chemical attack planned by rebels and White Helmets rescuers.
Using the same tactics employed in the reoccupations of eastern Aleppo city in late 2016 and of East Ghouta near Damascus this spring, Russia has put out weeks of false claims — then amplified by conspiracy theorists and pro-Assad and pro-Kremlin activists on social media.
On several occasions, Russian officials have said the “false flag” attack is imminent. When that attack does not occur, Moscow merely re-asserts the alert, choosing a different location for the supposed operation.
The campaign was in part to justify a pro-Assad offensive against Idlib and northern Hama Provinces, and in part to cover for any Assad regime chemical attacks similar to those on Douma in East Ghouta in April.
Even though Monday’s accord between Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suspended any pro-Assad offensive in the northwest, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya told the Security Council on Tuesday:
Militants and activists of the White Helmets continue fabricating the sham scenes that will feature the alleged use of chemical weapons inside the Idlib zone of de-escalation.
The filming of these fakes has already taken place in some Syrian districts. Notably, the organizers forced the Syrians abducted previously in Idlib and Aleppo Governorates to take part in the filming.
Nebenzya produced no evidence for the claims.