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Russia to press for putting White Helmets on trial for crimes in Syria

In particular, those are faked videos of chemical attacks, the Foreign Ministry said

MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Russia will press for putting the non-governmental organization White Helmets on trial for crimes committed in Syria, including faked videos of chemical attacks, the director of the Foreign Ministry’s department of new challenges and threats, Ilya Rogachyov, told TASS in an interview on Tuesday.

"The leading Western countries have failed to place the struggle against terrorism above their own time-serving political interests. In the sphere of international counter-terrorist cooperation various selective approaches thrive. Terrorists are rated as ‘bad’ and ‘not very bad’. Countries are being forced to agree with the concept of ‘resistance to violent extremism’ and its dangerous elements that create situations for ousting ‘disfavored’ governments," Rogachyov said. "The Western sponsors are keen to present the contractors on their payroll in a favorable light as ‘envoys of peace’ in order to use this as a cover to push ahead with political destabilization scenarios."

"We are determined to push ahead with and safeguard Russia’s foreign policy positions in order to ensure the White Helmets’ crimes in Syria and their attempts to mislead the international community by means of fake chemical weapons attacks attributed to the Syrian government forces, just as any other terrorist activity, should be thoroughly investigated and put on trial," Rogachyov said.

White Helmets

The Syria Civil Defense (commonly known as The White Helmets) is a non-governmental organization created in Syrian territory in 2014. Notorious for uploading to the world web photographs and videos allegedly illustrating destruction and casualties caused by the Syrian government army and its allies. The organization has more than once been accused of fabricating fakes. Some of the alleged victims shown in the video as victims of a chemical attack in Douma eventually testified as witnesses at a news briefing arranged by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to refute the very instance of chemical attacks.

Russia’s official position is the SCD is part of a media campaign unleashed against the Syrian authorities. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in January 2018 the White Helmets "have long cooperated with terrorist groups" and "utterly discredited themselves by stating provocations and spreading flagrant falsehoods."

On July 22 last year Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that Israel had evacuated White Helmets activists and their families from Syria to Canada and a number of European countries at the United States’ request. The Israeli army radio Galei Tzahal said that 800 people had been moved from southern Syria to Jordan in that operation.

Damascus argues that the White Helmets are linked with the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia) and operate in its interests. The United States has financed the White Helmets since 2013. The organization has received more than $33 million from US sources since.