World Bulletin / News Desk
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday warned of future chemical weapons "provocations" in Syria to frame President Bashar al-Assad, just as Washington's top diplomat arrived for talks in Moscow.
"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, where they are again planning to throw some kind of substance and accuse Syrian official authorities of using it," Putin said at a televised press conference.
He said Russia was set to appeal to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and "call on the international community to thoroughly investigate such incidents".
Putin insisted that reports over the suspected chemical attack in Syria that killed dozens of people in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun last week was reminiscent of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, justified by the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction.
"This ended with the country's destruction, with the growth of the terrorist threat and the appearance of ISIL on the international stage, no more, no less," he said.
Russia's defence ministry also said it had information that rebel fighters were bringing "poisonous substances" to the areas around the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhun and Eastern Ghuta, among other places.
"The goal of these actions is to create yet another reason to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons and provoke new strikes by the United States," it said in a statement.
The latest claims came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson touched down in Russia to confront the Kremlin over its support for Assad on the first visit by a senior member of Trump's administration.
Putin said Russia and Syria were being portrayed as a "common enemy" in a bid to bring together the United States and its Western allies after many leaders criticised Trump ahead of his election.
"We are ready to tolerate this, but we hope that this will nonetheless lead to some kind of positive cooperation trend," he said.
Moscow has sought to deflect blame from its long-time ally Assad over the alleged chemical attack and says Syrian jets struck a rebel arms depot where "toxic substances" were being put inside bombs.
Following on from the Tillerson visit, Moscow has announced Lavrov will host three-way talks with his counterparts from Syria and Iran later this week.
International law continues to view West Bank and East Jerusalem as 'occupied territories'
Hamas blasts Palestinian president's calls to resume talks with Israeli occupiers
Some say transport union leader Hugo Moyano is promoting the strike in a bid to avoid probe
Video stating Florida school shooting survivor is an actor becomes top trending video on site before it is removed
Coalition of opposition parties say elections called by government do not offer them any guarantees
Twelve Palestinian lawmakers remain in Israeli custody
Israeli army frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns in the West Bank
Controversial gun accessories turn semi-automatic rifles into rapid-fire weapons
Enrique Pena Nieto offers solidarity with U.S. after devastating school shooting
We did not work well enough over the past few years, says State Department spokesperson
Antonio Ledezma, a fierce critic of President Nicolas Maduro who fled Venezuela in 2015, said that "a humanitarian intervention is justified" in the country, given the brutality of the Caracas government.
Trudeau addressed a business conference in Mumbai on Tuesday morning, attended by leaders from the Tata conglomerate, IT giants Infosys and pharmaceutical major Jubilant Life Sciences.
The incident, which caused no injuries, is the latest in a string of accidents involving the US military that have prompted concern from Japanese officials and renewed criticism of the US military presence in the country.
Rest of the tanks will be delivered in April, forming a fully armored unit, says Iraqi Army Chief of Staff
Terrorists were reportedly plotting to attack Turkish bases