KSA behind Syria chemical attack: Russian source
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A Russian diplomatic source says the August chemical attack near the Syrian capital Damascus was carried out by Saudi Arabian intelligence agents. "Based on data from a number of sources a picture can be pieced together. The criminal provocation in eastern Ghouta was done by a black op team that the Saudis sent through Jordan and which acted with support of the Liwa al-Islam group," the Interfax news agency reported, citing a Russian source. On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there was evidence that components of chemical weapons were used by foreign-backed militants in Syria and transferred into Iraq for possible "provocations." "We read reports and hear from various sources, semi-official and trustworthy, that some official representatives of a number of the countries of the region surrounding Syria allegedly established contacts and meet regularly with leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups, and also that those radicals have some components of chemical weapons maybe found in Syria or maybe brought from somewhere, and not just on the Syrian territory, but also that chemical weapons components have been brought to Iraq and that provocations are being prepared there," Lavrov said at a news conference after a meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid. On August 21, hundreds of people were killed and scores of others were injured in a chemical attack in eastern Ghouta on the suburbs of Damascus. The militants operating inside Syria and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition accused the army of being behind the deadly attack. Damascus, however, has strongly denied the accusation, saying it was a false-flag operation carried out by Takfiri groups in a bid to draw in foreign military intervention. Following the chemical attack, US stepped up its war rhetoric against the Syrian government and called for punitive military action against Damascus. The Syrian government averted possible US aggression by accepting a Russian plan to put its chemical arsenal under international control and then have them destroyed. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. In a recent statement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the number of Syrian refugees, who have fled the country's 29-month-long conflict, reached two million. The UN refugee agency also said some 4.2 million people have also been displaced inside Syria since the beginning of the conflict in the Arab country.