The file photo shows members of the White Helmets group in Aleppo, northern Syria. (AFP)
The Russian Defense Ministry warns that militants from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group with the help of the West-backed White Helmets group are planning to stage yet another false flag chemical attack against civilians in the northwestern province of Idlib to implicate Damascus.
In a statement on Friday, the ministry said that the terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, and the White Helmets, a group operating under the guise of providing humanitarian aid in Syria, were planning to carry out provocative acts in Idlibís de-escalation zone, using toxic chemicals against civilians.
The ministry, citing "reliable" sources, added that the false flag operation was scheduled to take place ahead of Syriaís presidential election to be held on 26 May, Russiaís TASS news agency reported.
It is well known that "the terrorist groups operating in Syria, and their accomplices, at the behest of their foreign handlers, have resorted to the tactic of staged chemical attacks," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
"In the run-up to an important milestone in the life of the Syrian state - the presidential election in Syria set for May 26 - the threat of such dirty methods is on the rise. We express the hope that the disclosure of this information may help disrupt these criminal plans and prevent the deaths of innocent people," she added.
The White Helmets group, which claims to be a humanitarian NGO, is known for its coordination with terror outfits in Syria to carry out staged chemical attacks in order to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by a US-led military coalition present in Syria since 2014.
On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain, and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.
That alleged attack was reported by the White Helmets group, which published videos showing them purportedly treating survivors.
Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, an allegation strongly rejected by the Syrian government.
The western media and governments have repeatedly accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own citizens in the war against terrorists.
This is while Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has also consistently denied using chemical weapons.
Russia has been providing Syrian forces with crucial military assistance in the ongoing battles across the conflict-plagued Arab country.
The Russian assistance, which began in September 2015 at the official request of the Syrian government, has proved effective as Syrians continue to recapture key areas from remnants of the Daesh terrorist group and other foreign-backed terrorist factions.