Putin: 'US is Planning False Flag Attack Against Syria to Blame Assad'
Russian president claims they will attack Damascus
Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that the United States is planning another attack on Syria around Damascus, and will blame it on Assad.
Russia claims that Moscow had received intelligence about planned "provocations" using chemical weapons that would point the finger at the Syrian government and frame the Assad regime.
Mr. Putin made reference to strikes on suburbs in the south of the Syrian capital which he suggested would be the targets of the supposed US raids intended to give the US justification for further airstrikes in Syria.
The Independent reports: He also said the US strike on a Syrian airbase last week reminded him of claims made about weapons of mass destruction claims that were used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The provocative comments come as the Russian leader warned of the worst relations between Moscow and Washington since the end of the Cold War.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday - hours before US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due to arrive in Moscow - Mr. Putin said he would appeal to the UN to investigate last week's alleged chemical attack in Syria.
"We have information from different sources that these provocations - I cannot call them otherwise - are being prepared in other regions of Syria, including in the southern suburbs of Damascus where there are plans to throw some substance and accuse the official Syrian authorities," Mr Putin said after holding talks with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella.
He added that some countries had voiced their support for the US air strike on Syria in order to build closer relations with the new Trump administration.
"It reminds me of the events in 2003 when US envoys to the [UN] Security Council were demonstrating what they said were chemical weapons found in Iraq," Mr. Putin said. "We have seen it all already."
On the UN investigation, Mr. Putin said: “We plan to turn to the United Nations bodies in The Hague and call on the global community to thoroughly investigate this incident and make balanced decisions based on the investigation’s outcome.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is to meet Mr. Tillerson on Wednesday. Earlier reports suggested Mr. Putin would also meet the US diplomat, something Moscow has not commented on.