Moscow, Russia— Russia’s Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, warned on Tuesday that Syrian rebels are preparing to utilize chemical weapons— to be blamed on the Syrian government— as a justification for U.S. strikes on Damascus, and cautioned that “in the event of a threat to our military servicemen’s lives, Russia’s Armed Forces will take retaliatory measures to target both the missiles and their delivery vehicles.”

According to Gerasimov, the U.S. plans to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons, thus justifying a potential attack on Syrian government facilities in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Gerasimov noted that Russia has intelligence which indicates preparations are underway to stage the use of chemical weapons against civilians, stating that the United States plans to “furnish the so-called ‘evidence’ of the alleged mass civilian deaths through the fault of the Syrian government and the Russian leadership supporting it.”

“This has been confirmed by the discovery of a laboratory for the production of chemical weapons in the village of Aftris, which was liberated from terrorists,” Gerasimov stressed.

“As a countermeasure, Washington plans to deliver a missile and bomb strike against Damascus’ government districts,” Gerasimov continued.

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“We have reliable information about militants preparing to falsify a government chemical attack against civilians. In several districts of Eastern Ghouta, a crowd was assembled with women, children and old people, brought from other regions, who were to represent the victims of the chemical incident,” Gerasimov said.

The statement by Gerasimov comes a day after US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley ominously stated that the US was “prepared” to take action in Syria to halt civilian bombing in Syria if the UN refrained from doing so. “When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action,” Haley said. “We warn any nation determined to impose its will through chemical attacks and inhuman suffering, but most especially the outlaw Syrian regime, the United States remains prepared to act if we must.”

In that same session, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said that al-Qaeda linked militants had already used chemical weapons in East Ghouta.

The Russian Ministry of Defense will take retaliatory measures against the U.S. if there are any “threat to the lives” of Russian armed forces in Syria, Gerasimov warned.

“At the same time, Russian military advisors, members of the Russian Reconciliation Center for the Conflicting Sides and military policemen are staying in the Syrian Defense Ministry’s facilities in Damascus. In case there is a threat to the lives of our military, the Russian Armed Force will take retaliatory measures both over the missiles and carriers that will use them,” he said.

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