(Adds quotes, context)
MOSCOW, April 25 Allegations that Syrian
government forces have used toxic chemicals are false, Russia
said on Friday, and accused President Bashar al-Assad's foes of
fabricating such claims to provoke foreign military
"Accusations against government forces of supposed cases of
the use of poisonous chemicals continue to be fabricated," the
Russian Foreign Ministry said, apparently referring to reports
of chlorine gas attacks.
"The latest anti-Syrian chemical hysteria makes one wonder
about the true aims of its initiators, who have not stopped
their attempts to find a pretext for military intervention in
Syria," the ministry said in a statement.
Russia has given Assad crucial support during the civil war
in Syria. Moscow backed the Syrian government's denial that it
was behind a devastating sarin gas attack last August, but also
initiated a deal for Syria to abandon its toxic chemical
stockpile in a move that averted potential U.S. air strikes.
The head of the global chemical weapons watchdog overseeing
Syria's chemical disarmament, which is supposed to be complete
by the end of June, is considering launching a fact-finding
mission to investigate reports of chlorine gas attacks there,
sources told Reuters on Thursday.
(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)