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US Department of State cuts off funding for Syria's White Helmets — media

May 04, 5:42 updated at: May 04, 8:23 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

White Helmets was one of the first among other non-governmental organizations to make allegations that chemical weapons were used in Syria’s Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7

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© AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

WASHINGTON, May 4. /TASS/. The US Department of State halted financing the non-governmental organization, White Helmets, which had been working in war-torn Syria, CBS television channel reported.

According to the US-based TV-channel, the government of the United States accounted for about a third of the overall funding of White Helmets, a humanitarian group that worked in Syria to provide assistance to civilians.

"Now they are not getting any US funding as the State Department says the support is ‘under active review,’" CBS reported adding that the organization had not been receiving financial funds from the United States for several weeks already.

The CBS quoted Raed Saleh, the leader of White Helmets, as saying that there were no signs of stopping the financing two months ago during the visit of the organization’s members to the United States two months ago.

"Our meetings in March were very positive. There were even remarks from senior officials about long-term commitments even into 2020," Saleh was quoted by the CBS as saying. "There were no suggestions whatsoever about stopping support."

An unnamed official from White Helmets said commenting on the situation concerning the US financial aid to the organization that "This is a very worrisome development."

"Ultimately, this will negatively impact the humanitarian workers ability to save lives," the official was quoted as saying.

White Helmets was one of the first among other non-governmental organizations to make allegations that chemical weapons were used in Syria’s Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7.

According to the statement posted on the organization’s website on April 8, chlorine bombs were dropped on the city to kill dozens and poison other local civilians who had to be brought to hospital.

The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed that as fake news. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that White Helmets were an unreliable source, notorious for disseminating falsehoods. The Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Sides on April 9 examined Douma to find no traces of chemical weapons.

On April 14, the United States, Great Britain and France delivered a massive missile strike against Syria’s military and civil infrastructure facilities, claiming that their actions were in response to an alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma by the Syrian government troops.

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