Iran outlet Press TV’s “proof” of plans for “terrorist chemical attacks”: Rebel drones downed near Russian base in western Syria
Alongside Russian State outlets, Iran is pushing disinformation about preparations for “terrorist chemical attacks” in northwest Syria.
Tehran’s English-language Press TV claimed on Monday, without any evidence:
Terrorists from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, have reportedly gained access to 100 unmanned aerial vehicles through a Turkish merchant to use them in chemical attacks against Syrian government forces in the country’s northwestern province of Idlib.
The group which was Jabhat al-Nusra is now part of the jihadist bloc Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which controls part of opposition-held Idlib Province. Russia and the Assad regime have declared since 2013 that the faction has pursued chemical attacks, but have never provided any information to confirm the assertion.
Almost two weeks ago Russian and regime outlets announced a rebel attack with chlorine on eastern Aleppo city, injuring more than 100 people. Despite international attention to the claim, neither Moscow nor Damascus have followed up with any substantive evidence to back the assertion.
Monday’s Iranian propaganda is based on a manufactured story from the Arabic site of Russia’s Sputnik. The article claims have been moved from the town of Harem, near the border with Turkey, and handed to “Moroccan and Libyan terrorists” in the town of Ma’arat Misrin.
Sputnik creates unnamed “local sources” to write, “Terrorists are working under the supervision of a British expert to make modifications on the drones to become lighter, and to able to carry small shells loaded with toxic chemical substances.”
The site wrote on November 22 that “French experts” had arrived in Idlib city to upgrade missiles, loading them with chemical agents, for a “false flag” attack on the opposition area. This would supposedly create a pretext for US-led strikes on pro-Assad positions.
UN inspectors have found the Assad regime culpable of 33 chlorine and sarin attacks since 2014. On two occasions — after the regime’s sarin assault in northwest Syria in April 2017, killing about 90 people and wounding hundreds, and after a suspected double chlorine attack near Damascus in April 2018 — the US responded with missile strikes on a regime base and chemical weapons facilities.