Friday September 7, 2018
Republican State Senator Richard Black of Virginia has met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and claimed to have knowledge of an alleged Western plot to stage a chemical weapons attack there as a pretext for military action.
Black, an Army veteran, traveled to Syria on Wednesday to express his support for the government's war against insurgents and jihadis who rose up in a 2011 rebellion backed by the West, Turkey and Gulf Arab states. The U.S. and its allies have accused Assad of war crimes, including the use of chemical weapons, but the Syrian leader and his Russian and Iranian allies have alleged that such incidents were "false flag" plots conjured up to justify foreign intervention.
As the Syrian military prepares for a major showdown with the final Islamist-held province of Idlib, U.S. officials have claimed that Assad may order the use of restricted poison gas, while Russia has claimed that the U.K. was working with local militants in an apparent attempt to stage such an incident. In an interview with regional media the following day, Black sided with the pro-Syrian government camp.