Daniel Halliday
Nov 4 · Last update 2 mo. ago.

Who really are the Syrian White Helmets?

The Syrian Civil Defence, or "White Helmets", is a grassroots organisation made of Syrian volunteers, who conduct rescue operations following airstrikes in Syria’s rebel-held regions. However there have been various mixed narratives about the role of the White Helmets in Syria, with a large amount of misinformation obviously surrounding this organisation. Various sources portray the White Helmets as humanitarians, terrorist support groups, or internationally funded propagandists. Who are the Syrian Civil Defence organisation, what role are they playing in Syria and what evidence is there to back up the claims and counter-claims surrounding their actions?
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An internationally sponsored propagandist group
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They are humanitarian group
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It is too hard for the press to cover such a conflict accurately
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A group with links to terrorists
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One group caught up in messy propaganda and proxy wars
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An internationally sponsored propagandist group

The Syrian Civil Defence (SCD) or White Helmets are fraudsters who helped to stage the Syrian gas attack in Douma. The self claimed humanitarian group were instrumental in filming the attack but chemical weapons experts have said the footage available is questionable, as face masks would offer little protection against chemical agents, and no pictures or film show any feasible attack or victims. The SCD have been sponsored by the US and UK governments to the sum of $60 million, making their reputation as a grassroots organisation questionable, they were also founded by a British Mercenary, James Le Mesurier. Members of the clergy have even visited Syria and claim the SCD have utilised and capitalised on injured children in order to make propaganda videos, the first hand accounts of clergy go against the UK government's narrative on Syria, and seem to indicate a deeper role the SCD have played in the conflict in Syria.

A leaked internal document from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons revealed there were conflicting views about what happened, and that the chemical cylinder reported to have released the chemicals is now thought to have been planted at the site and not dropped. This contradicts the official OPCW report on what happened in Douma, and there have since been two whistleblowers from the OPCW that have come forward and contradicted the findings of this official report. These whistleblowers both stated that if the suspected cylinder were a chemical weapon it would only have killed the people in the room or building, and would have been ineffective as a weapon, stating that using the cylinder itself as “evidence” makes little to no sense. Real concerns have been raised then when considering the SCD's role in releasing footage and raising awareness of the alleged attack in Douma, the SCD footage merely shows people being rinsed in hospital, and the organisations links the the US and the Douma chemical attack being the catalyst for the US carrying out airstrikes on Syria cannot be overlooked.

youtu.be/yaZRZo9FGQI?t=218 mintpressnews.com/james-le-mesurier-british-ex-military-mercenary-founded-white-helmets/230320 tass.com/defense/999641 theduran.com/second-whistleblower-exposes-cover-up-at-opcw-syria-chemical-weapons-report-video youtube.com/watch?v=FU24r2zWVQo newspunch.com/key-scientist-admits-un-report-syrian-gas-attack-doctored

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 12
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DH edited this paragraph
A leaked internal document from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons revealed there were conflicting views about what happened, and that the chemical cylinder reported to have released the chemicals is now thought to have been planted at the site and not dropped. This contradicts the official OPCW report on what happened in Douma, and there have since been two whistleblowers from the OPCW that have come forward and contradicted the findings of this official report. These whistleblowers both stated that if the suspected cylinder were a chemical weapon it would only have killed the people in the room or building, and would have been ineffective as a weapon, stating that using the cylinder itself as “evidence” makes little to no sense. Real concerns have been raised then when considering the SCD's role in releasing footage and raising awareness of the alleged attack in Douma, the SCD footage merely shows people being rinsed in hospital, and the organisations links the the US and the Douma chemical attack being the catalyst for the US carrying out airstrikes on Syria cannot be overlooked.

They are humanitarian group

The White Helmets, also known as the Syria Civil Defence, are a humanitarian volunteer group that provide medical, evacuation, and search and rescue assistance in Syria. The group has also been the subject of an Oscar winning film that depicts their bravery, saving lives in some of the most dangerous incidents in the Syrian Civil War, and have also been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and won ‘alternative Nobel prize’ from the Right Livelihood Award Foundation. According the fact checking website snopes.com the organisation has been the subject of a Russian-Syrian disinformation campaign also, with activists and bloggers with links to these two countries attempting tie the White Helmet to terrorism and the staging of mass casualty events.

This is nothing new however, as far back as the Franco-Prussian War and the Balkan Uprisings of the 19th century humanitarian groups have become targets with their motives questioned. Red Cross hospitals being bombed and volunteers shot during The Siege of Paris in 1870 following allegations of spying and using the red cross symbol as cover. In a similar way the White Helmets have become targets in a modern day disinformation war playing out online, in which the Russian propaganda machine is using rumors, conspiracy, half-truths, and disputed videos, to feed alternative narratives of alt-right commentators, anti-imperialists, conspiracy theorists and trolls. At the end of the day anyone can put on a white helmet, and despite some minor controversies, which have led to one member being barred, there is no evidence to support such claims, with the videos claiming to show the White Helmets supporting terrorists being unverified.

snopes.com/fact-check/syrian-rescue-organization-the-white-helmets-are-terrorists whitehelmets.org/en eaworldview.com/2018/08/the-white-helmets-and-the-long-history-of-attacking-humanitarians theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/18/syria-white-helmets-conspiracy-theories businessinsider.com/feras-fayyad-last-men-in-aleppo-russia-propaganda-against-syria-white-helmets-2018-3?op=1

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 12
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DH edited this paragraph
The White Helmets, also known as the Syria Civil Defence, are a humanitarian volunteer group that provide medical, evacuation, and search and rescue assistance in Syria. The group has also been the subject of an Oscar winning film that depicts their bravery, saving lives in some of the most dangerous incidents in the Syrian Civil War, and have also been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and won ‘alternative Nobel prize’ from the Right Livelihood Award Foundation. According the fact checking website snopes.com the organisation has been the subject of a Russian-Syrian disinformation campaign also, with activists and bloggers with links to these two countries attempting tie the White Helmet to terrorism and the staging of mass casualty events.

It is too hard for the press to cover such a conflict accurately

If the white helmets and the mainstream narrative is to be believed we enter a strange reality where a movie about fake chemical weapons attacks were made a month before the disputed chemical weapons attack actually occurred. This is either a massive coincidence, an elaborate false flag or a sickening pre-planned misinformation campaign to deliberately confuse and allow a group to get away with chemical weapons attacks. Unfortunately any real evidence is probably forever lost in the fog of war, but whatever the reality the confusion over the white helmets show us what an absurd era we live in, when a sinister coincidence is the least horrific explanation.

This has proved difficult for journalists to cover also. What we are all left with in Syria is a much too complicated picture, but there is undoubtedly some effort in the mainstream media to misreport what is happening to stimulate mainstream support for the war. However in an era of clickbait journalism when investigative journalism is disturbingly under funded, objectivity is near impossible and as mainstream journalism becomes increasingly constrained, journalists tend to describe the truth as best as they can perceive it. However the intensely difficult situation that Syria has become has meant that most perceive the war through the mainstream billionaire press, who can afford to safely station reporters in the region.

counterpunch.org/2018/04/13/chemical-attacks-false-flags-and-the-fate-of-syria globalresearch.ca/debunking-the-western-medias-coverage-of-the-war-on-syria/5551325 informationclearinghouse.info/article45653.htm consortiumnews.com/2020/02/11/new-leaks-shatter-opcws-attacks-on-douma-whistleblowers snopes.com/fact-check/is-this-proof-white-helmets-staged-chemical-attack youtube.com/watch?v=f2OCDY8q5Qc&t=436s

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 10
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DH edited this paragraph
This has proved difficult for journalists to cover also. What we are all left with in Syria is a much too complicated picture, but there is undoubtedly some effort in the mainstream media to misreport what is happening to stimulate mainstream support for the war. However in an era of clickbait journalism when investigative journalism is disturbingly under funded, objectivity is near impossible and as mainstream journalism becomes increasingly constrained, journalists tend to describe the truth as best as they can perceive it. However the intensely difficult situation that Syria has become has meant that most perceive the war through the mainstream billionaire press, who can afford to safely station reporters in the region.

A group with links to terrorists

In addition to the mounting evidence that the Douma chemical weapons attack of 2018 was staged by members of the White Helmets, there have also been claims that this group have links to terrorist organisations and have been filmed operating alongside or with jihadist insurgents. The white helmets were founded not in Syria but in Turkey by a British ex-army officer and military contractor, James Le Mesurier, with financial support from Japan, the UK and the US. Le Mesurier founded and trained the White Helmets before they went on to receive millions in direct funding from the US and UK governments, and before Le Mesurier's sudden suicide in Istanbul in 2019.

Despite this western support video footage continuously emerged of members of the White Helmets operating alongside jihadist groups, even though such groups often kill anyone with links to western governments, some were even filmed celebrating with al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate. Because of these claims of links to ISIS and al-Qaeda/al-Nusra, the Kurdish YPG had kicked the White Helmets out of the Afrin region in December 2015, but the White Helmets reappeared in Afrin alongside Turkish forces during the ethnic cleansing of Kurds in the region in 2018. The Syrian Civil War is chaotic and it is hard to know what the reality on the ground is, but aside from assisting propaganda campaigns, its clear that the White Helmets have sided with terrorists and mass murderers multiple times during this horrific war.

youtube.com/watch?v=CCmN6X_7kn0 ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/syria-crisis/2127-james-le-mesurier.html mintpressnews.com/white-helmets-reemerge-as-explosives-defusing-experts-in-syrias-afrin/240090 21stcenturywire.com/2016/06/21/who-are-the-syria-white-helmets

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 10
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DH edited this paragraph
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCmN6X_7kn0 https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/syria-crisis/2127-james-le-mesurier.html https://www.mintpressnews.com/white-helmets-reemerge-as-explosives-defusing-experts-in-syrias-afrin/240090/ https://21stcenturywire.com/2016/06/21/who-are-the-syria-white-helmets/

One group caught up in messy propaganda and proxy wars

The Syrian Civil War has seen Bashar al-Assad's Syrian government and Russia fighting back a myriad of ever changing rebel and terror groups. The majority of these groups fall under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army, an Arab/Turkmen coalition of armed groups backed by Turkey, who have increasingly entered the war directly occupying territory in northern Syria. Many of these groups are also directly linked to Salafist terror organisations, such as Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front (recently rebranded as Tahrir al-Sham), and espouse the explicit intent to create an Islamic state under Sharia law within Syria. Despite this the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army has been fighting not just the Syrian government but ISIL and the mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the United States, France, Britain, and the UAE also. This messy proxy war became more complex with the insurgency of terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, complicating the fighting and funding of this war, as it is believed that US funding for the war through Operation Timber Sycamore largely ended up funding such terrorist groups. To complicate things further there were US/NATO task forces carrying out bombing campaigns to fight ISIL in Syria during the Syrian Civil War, and according to a Turkish report the US were responsible for supporting most Free Syrian Army groups prior to Turkish involvement [1].

However most striking about this war is the sophisticated propaganda campaigns. Sophisticated propagandists like Russia and the United States were found to commonly release false narratives and disinformation, but even terror groups like ISIS had a sophisticated propaganda and radicalisation platform, causing the Syrian Civil War to become a kaleidoscope of misinformation and false flags. Moving forward the White Helmets need to speak up about the tragedies they have obviously had some role in, and they should work harder to make their neutral position clear if they are not going to get caught up in it. At the end of the day most people, even most journalists, only have a lose grasp of what was going on on the ground in Syria during this period, and not much is actually known about this group, their involvement in propaganda campaigns will prompt more questions moving forward.

newsweek.com/2018/04/13/assad-syria-fake-news-war-propaganda-russia-iran-united-states-white-helmets-874161.html en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Sycamore thenational.ae/world/mena/the-crazy-club-inside-the-british-propaganda-trips-that-seek-to-legitimise-assad-s-barbarism-1.724176 nybooks.com/daily/2018/10/16/why-assad-and-russia-target-the-white-helmets thetimes.co.uk/article/syria-trips-by-clergy-and-peers-undermine-britain-zslwn3bgk mintpressnews.com/white-helmets-reemerge-as-explosives-defusing-experts-in-syrias-afrin/240090 [1] presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/20/609136/Turkey-Syria-FSA-Kurd

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Daniel Halliday
Mar 10
Approved
DH edited this paragraph
However most striking about this war is the sophisticated propaganda campaigns. Sophisticated propagandists like Russia and the United States were found to commonly release false narratives and disinformation, but even terror groups like ISIS had a sophisticated propaganda and radicalisation platform, causing the Syrian Civil War to become a kaleidoscope of misinformation and false flags. Moving forward the White Helmets need to speak up about the tragedies they have obviously had some role in, and they should work harder to make their neutral position clear if they are not going to get caught up in it. At the end of the day most people, even most journalists, only have a lose grasp of what was going on on the ground in Syria during this period, and not much is actually known about this group, their involvement in propaganda campaigns will prompt more questions moving forward.
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