Iran's presence in Syria at Damascus' request

Iran’s defense minister arrives in Damascus to discuss reconstruction of Syria

Konashenkov claimed that the planned "provocation" would "serve as another reason for the US, the United Kingdom, and France to hit Syrian government targets with air strikes".

Following up on concerns expressed over the weekend that a "false flag" attack might be used as a pretext for a United States attack on Syria, Russian Defense Ministry officials say they are deeply concerned by signs of a USA military buildup around the area, seemingly setting up for just such an attack.

Anna Borshchevskaya, an expert on Russian foreign policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Business Insider that Moscow was alleging a USA false flag possibly to help support a weak Syrian government in cracking down on one of the last rebel strongholds, crackdowns for which chemical attacks have become a weapon of choice.

French President Emmanuel Macron separately on August 27 called on Russian Federation to rein in Assad, who denies using chemical weapons despite several instances documented by the United Nations and whom Russian Federation has shielded from United Nations retribution over the chemical incidents for years.

Militants are being poised to stage a chemical weapons attack in order to frame Damascus, providing a pretext for retaliatory strikes.

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It follows a series of meetings between Iranian and Syrian leaders, which looks set to deepen the relationship between the two allies and entrench Tehran's influence in the war-torn in the country. Borshchevskaya said Assad may look to chemical weapons because his conventional military has weakened under seven years of conflict. Russia's navy buildup around Syria represents the biggest since Moscow kicked off its Syrian intervention with its sole aircraft carrier in 2015.

According to the daily, Russian Federation plans to send "several more" warships to the vicinity of the coasts of the Arab country. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokeswoman Oana Lungescu, meanwhile, told Haaretz on Tuesday that the navy "has dispatched substantial naval forces to the Mediterranean, including several ships equipped with modern cruise missiles".

"Physically, the Russians really can't do anything to stop that strike", Lamrani said.

"Russian Federation would want us to pay for it but Syria under Assad is not safe", said one European Union official.

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