Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday warned of future chemical weapons "provocations" in Syria that would be used to frame Kremlin ally and regime leader Bashar al Assad, reports said.
"We have information from various sources that such provocations – I cannot call them otherwise – are being prepared in other regions of Syria, including in the southern outskirts of Damascus," Putin said in Moscow, where he was flanked by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who held talks with the Russian president on Tuesday.
TRT World's Julia Lyubova reports.
Fake chemical attacks?
Putin was referring to a deadly chemical attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun on April 4 that killed more than 100 people, provoking US missile strikes on a regime air base three days later.
Turkey and the US say the deaths were most likely caused by sarin nerve gas dropped by Syrian regime jets – a charge Syria and Russia deny.
Putin said that Russia had information that the United States was planning to launch new missile strikes on Syria, and that there were plans to fake chemicals weapons attacks there.
He did not offer any proof for that assertion.
The Russian president said Russia would tolerate Western criticism of its role in Syria but hoped that attitudes would eventually soften.
The remarks came as delegates from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the US came together on Monday for the meeting of G7 countries in Italy to put pressure on Russia to break its ties with Syria's Bashar al Assad, among other objectives.