UK resettles 100 Syria White Helmets members, families

Press TV – Feb 21, 2019

This file photo shows a member of the so-called White Helmets “aid” group which independent researchers cite as an example of group members previously being part of terrorist groups in Syria. Click to enlarge

Britain has resettled some 100 members of the White Helmets aid group, which is accused of staging fake gas attacks in Syria’s terrorist controlled areas as part of a sophisticated smear campaign against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

UK immigration minister Caroline Nokes told BBC on Wednesday that the government was working with local councils to volunteer to take in White Helmet members and their families as they arrived from Syria.

“I have no doubt that the UK going forward will continue to play its part in global resettlement, that we will provide aid,” she said.

In July 2018, more than 400 members of the UK-funded White Helmets were forced to flee Syria as Syrian government forces continued advancements towards their positions.

On their way out of the country, the group had to cross the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and enter Jordan with the help of Israeli soldiers and Western powers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said back then that Tel Aviv helped the group’s evacuation after receiving request from US President Donald Trump and other Western leaders.

The White Helmets jumped to the center of media attention in April last year, when footage emerged showing a suspected chemical attack in the town of Douma in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta.

The dramatic video broadcast by BBC showed people being treated after an attack.

Hassan Diab shown in Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the alleged chemical attack. Click to see the full-size image

Western governments soon pointed fingers at Syria as the perpetrator of the attack but Damascus said it had evidence that the so-called volunteer group had staged the whole incident. On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over the attack.

This is while Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the US and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has also consistently denied using chemical weapons.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denounced the White Helmets as “a branch of the al-Qaeda and al-Nusra” militant groups and the attack as a “PR stunt” by the US, Britain and France.

Last week, Russia announced that the fabricated BBC footage proved the “theater of absurd” in Western media’s coverage of events in Syria.

“The culmination of this theater of absurd may be a statement by a BBC producer, who confirmed based on his own research that the footage had been staged with direct participation of White Helmets,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said shortly after BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati discussed the footage on twitter.

White Helmets with al Qaeda militants. Click to enlarge

Besides assisting Takfiri terrorists, the White Helmets also stand accused of organ trafficking and looting Syrian people trapped in conflict areas.

Maxim Grigoriev, director of the Russia-based Foundation for the Study of Democracy, raised the allegations in a report to the United Nations in February last year which featured eyewitness accounts from members of the group.

“There is overwhelming evidence which proves that the White Helmets centers were permanently engaged in building fortifications for battle positions for terrorist and illegal armed groups who had been supplying them with water and food and evacuating wounded terrorists from the front line,” said Grigoriev.

The director presented harrowing accounts indicating the group’s involvement in human organ trafficking.

“For example, a person receives a minor injury, is rescued, evacuated and then brought back with their stomach cut open and with their internal organs missing.”

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