Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has cited reports saying that a number of countries are training Syrian militants in Afghanistan to use chemical weapons.
“Some reports indicate that [al-Qaeda-linked ] al-Nusra Front is planning to smuggle toxic compounds and relevant specialists into Iraqi territory to stage terrorist attacks there this time,” Lavrov said as quoted in an RT report on Friday.
The top Russian diplomat further explained that the intent of the chemical training is to put the skill to use in new false-flag operations in Syria.
He noted, however, that the training was being conducted in Afghan territories that are not under the control of the central government in Kabul.
Lavrov made the remarks following a meeting with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, further cautioning against any potential provocations in Syria to disrupt the ongoing chemical weapons disarmament operation being conducted by experts from the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
“We are standing for conducting the work in a precise manner in accordance with the roadmap and without any hindrances. We warn against any possible provocation,” added the Russian Foreign Minister.
The development comes as Russian diplomatic sources announced earlier that the August sarin gas attack in Syria was a special operation of Saudi Arabian intelligence conducted with support from a radical Islamist militant group operating near Damascus.
Following the fatal chemical attack on August 21, the United States threatened a military strike against Syria under the pretext that the Syrian government was behind the incident. Damascus categorically rejected the allegation.
However, the Security Council approved a resolution on September 27 supporting a Russia-US deal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014. The deal was reached after Moscow offered Syria to place its chemical weapons arsenal under international supervision and Damascus accepted the proposal.
The first members of OPCW-UN inspectors have started their mission to oversee the elimination.
Reports say that 27 inspectors are scheduled to visit more than 20 different sites in Syria. The sites reportedly include areas held by the militants.
On October 9, OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu praised Syria’s cooperation with the team of inspectors, saying, “The cooperation has been quite constructive and I would say the Syrian authorities have been cooperative.”