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White Helmets’ flight from Syria shows whose orders they follow - Russian Foreign Ministry

The organization have been involved in the most odious provocations during the conflict in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an official commentary
Russian Foreign Ministry Building Sergei Sevastianov/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry Building
© Sergei Sevastianov/TASS

MOSCOW, July 23. /TASS/. Flight of workers of the White Helmets nongovernmental organization from Syria with foreign assistance shows graphically whose orders they fulfilled and whose money they existed on, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in an official commentary on Monday.

Israeli Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said on Sunday Israel had evacuated the activists of the White Helmets and members of their families from Syria at a request from the US, Canada and a number of Western countries.

Israeli army radio Galei Tzahal said some 800 people had been taken to Jordan from the southern areas of Syria in the course of the operation, as the Syrian government troops were rounding up the antiterrorist operation there.

Government officials in Damascus said in this connection the White Helmets had links to Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist grouping and were acting in its interests. The US started sponsoring the NGO in 2013 and it has granted more than $ 33 million to the organization by now.

"The information available to us suggests the Westerners evacuated a big group of those pseudo-aid workers to Jordan via the Israeli territory," the commentary said. "Meanwhile, it is known perfectly well that the White Helmets have been involved in the most odious provocations during the conflict in Syria."

"The organization concentrated its operations exclusively in the areas controlled by Islamic radicals, forging overt fakes that would be used as pretexts for charges against the Syrian authorities," the ministry said.

The Helmets had a particular fancy for shooting the propagandistic clips, which the Western media and social networks would circulate endlessly, the ministry said.

"It’s quite emblematic that the White Helmets preferred to flee Syria with foreign assistance, thus unmasking their essence and hypocrisy to the whole world," the commentary said. "As if acting out the principle 'an uneasy conscience betrays itself', these people showed in a most graphic way whose orders they had been fulfilling and whose money they had existed on."

Moscow also called attention to the recent comments by the US Department of State official spokesperson upon the results of a telephone conversation between Foreign Minister Lavrov and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

"These comments said in gushing terms, so typical of the Americans, Russia was failing to act properly on its obligations regarding southwestern Syria," the ministry said. "We’d like to say in this connection the situation is entirely opposite in reality. It was Washington that did not do anything over several months in the southwestern de-escalation zone to separate the so-called moderate opposition units from the terrorist of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra."

"As a results of successful actions of the Syrian Armed Forces and with our assistance, law and order are returning to southwestern Syria and conditions are arising for people’s return of peaceful life there," the ministry said.

Russia, the US and Jordan made an arrangement in July 2017 to set up a de-escalation zone in southwestern Syria, embracing three southern governorates of the country - Deraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Syrian opposition, the Islamic State and al-Nusra are making attempts with assistance from the US to set up an autonomous district in southern Syria and this may bring about the country’s split.