Tensions are increasing in Syria as Turkey is reportedly increasing its troops stationed at the Syrian border, and the United States is responding to accusations that it used illegal chemical weapons over the weekend.
While the United States warns about the possibility of a chemical attack in Syria, the Russian Ministry of Defense is publicly accusing the U.S. of launching airstrikes that contain white phosphorus, a chemical substance banned under international law.
In a statement, Russia accused the U.S. of using bombs with illegal phosphorus munitions from two F-15 jets on Saturday. While it is not clear whether civilians were harmed by the airstrikes, the bombing resulted in large fires around the area.
“In Deir ez-Zor province on September 8, 2018, two F-15 aircraft of the US Air Force carried out strikes on the settlement of Hadjin with the use of phosphorus incendiary munitions. As a result of the strikes, major fires were observed. Information on victims and injured is being clarified,” Major-General Vladimir Savchenko stated.
White phosphorus is a substance banned under international law by the 1949 Geneva Convention, and if the U.S. is caught using it, it could be grounds for a war crimes investigation.
A spokesperson for the Pentagon released a statement denying the claims, and insisting that U.S. military units are not equipped with the chemical.
“At this time, we have not received any reports of any use of white phosphorus. None of the military units in the area are even equipped with white phosphorus munitions of any kind,” Pentagon Commander Sean Robertson said.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has also warned that the US-backed White Helmets met with terrorist groups in the province of Idlib to plot the final stages of a false flag chemical attack
As the Syrian government works to regain control of the province, reports of a chemical attack will likely result in the US and its allies targeting the Syrian government with airstrikes, before an investigation can be completed.
All the while, Turkey is increasing its presence on the Syrian border and sending troops to 12 outposts on Syrian territory.
A spokesperson for the Turkish Government released a statement saying he believes the troops in Idlib will deter Russia and Syria from trying to gain control of the region.
“The Russian jet fighters and the regime ground forces cannot afford attacks while Turkish soldiers are there,” said Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Erdogan.
This statement comes after a trilateral meeting between Russia, Iran, and Turkey, in which Turkey appeared to want to work with Russia to find a solution to the crisis in Idlib.
With Turkey increasing the presence of its troops and the United States warning that is ready to strike in case of a reported chemical attack on one side, and Syria and Russia ready for the final push to regain control on the other side, there is the danger of a major global showdown in Idlib.