Putin warns against provocation amid hype over Syria gas attack claims

File photo of USS Donald Cook. The American destroyer has reportedly arrived off Syria’s coast.

(PRESS TV) – Russia’s president has warned against any recourse to provocative measures over allegations of a new chemical attack in Syria, amid rising threats of a military action by the US and its allies against the Damascus government, which they blame for the reported incident.

In a phone call on Monday, Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the situation in Syria, “including the accusations against Damascus by a number of Western countries of using chemical weapons,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

The alleged attack on the militant-held town of Douma in the Eastern Ghouta suburb of the Syrian capital over the weekend left dozens dead and drew international condemnation from various countries and international bodies.

The Syrian government, in a statement released late on Saturday, strongly rejected the allegation of using chemical munitions and said that the so-called Jaish al-Islam Takfiri terrorist group, which has dominant presence in Douma, was repeating the accusations “in order to accuse the Syrian Arab army, in a blatant attempt to hinder the Army’s advance.”

During the phone conversation, “The Russian side stressed the unacceptability of provocation and speculation on this matter.”

The allegations against the Syrian government have been flying around as Damascus and its ally Moscow are within an inch of defeating foreign-backed militants in Douma, their last stronghold in Eastern Ghouta. The militants have been using the civilians there as human shields and launching deadly rocket against the capital from the countryside.

In the course of the liberation operation in Eastern Ghoutal, which began in February, Moscow has repeatedly warned that the militants in the region could stage gas attacks in order to frame the Syrian government.

Earlier on Monday, Putin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “Both the president and the Defense Ministry, citing intelligence sources, have spoken about such a provocation being prepared.”

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