White Helmets

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Not to be confused with the Syrian Civil Defense which is member of the International Civil Defence Organisation since 12. September 1972.

Group.png Islamic State Fire Brigade  
(Deep state tool?Twitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
White Helmets logo.png
Motto"To save a life is to save all of humanity."
FormationMarch 2013
FounderJames Le Mesurier
Interest ofMuhammad Idrees Ahmad, Vanessa Beeley, Max Blumenthal, "Philip Cross", Working Group on Syria Propaganda and Media, Nawal al-Maghafi
Exposed byCory Morningstar
Western back group whose founder James Le Mesurier was found dead in Istanbul 3 days after a Russian press spokesperson tweeted that he was "a former agent of Britain's MI6".

The White Helmets (aka Islamic State Fire Brigade) are a Western-backed rival Civil Defence Organisation in Syria led by Raed Al Saleh.[1]

They were founded and trained in Turkey, and are not the ICDO-accredited Syrian civil defence organisation, although they have effectively usurped that title in their logo and PR activities. The White Helmets have been accused of sabotaging the efforts of that group, including by murdering their members.[2]

In November 2019, their founder James Le Mesurier was found dead in Istanbul 3 days after Russian press spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, tweeted that he was "a former agent of Britain's MI6".

Official narrative

White Helmets funding and support

The White Helmets describe themselves as "2,900 volunteer search and rescue workers from local communities who risk their lives to save others and bring hope" throughout opposition-controlled Syria,[3] and claim to have "saved 60,000 lives" during the conflict.[4]. They are lauded by the Western commercially-controlled media as a group of volunteer first-responders, and are financed by the US, Britain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to the tune of $100 million.[5]

Their official website says the volunteers have already saved more than 20,000 people on all sides of the conflict, adding that they are following the principles of humanity, solidarity and impartiality outlined by the International Civil Defence Organisation.

They were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize[6], a nomination which The Guardian supported in October 2016.[7]

The prize was awarded to Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos on 7 October 2016.[8]

Dissenting voices

British journalist Vanessa Beeley, who returned from Aleppo in 2016, accused the White Helmets of stealing ambulances and fire engines, and even killing Syria's real Civil Defence personnel.

In a post to Facebook, she referred to them as "terrorists"[9] and in a Sputnik News article she said White Helmets and other NGOs such as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, are used to justify the West’s policy of arming and supporting the insurgency in Syria:

“If we at least start making people question this propaganda and if we make people appreciate that it is a very one sided story that is being portrayed to them, then we are breaking some strangle holds of these narratives.”[10]
An image from Eva Bartlett's story on White Helmets’ Apologists Deconstructed[11]

Vanessa Beeley published a 25-minute interview to support these claims at Youtube.[12] On 10 December 2017, she was interviewed by Afshin Rattansi on Going Underground:

"Over the past four years, the UK government has poured over £200 million of tax payer funds into a failed proxy military intervention and illegal shadow state-building project in Syria. This week, the penny finally dropped…"[13]

In January 2018, Eva Bartlett of The Indicter Magazine, who styles herself as the victim of a "Channel 4 News smear piece on myself" published a series she termed "the White Helmets whitewashing story".[11]

Propaganda construct

White Helmets: a propaganda construct

On 6 October 2016, RT's Peter Lavelle hosted an edition of Crosstalk which exposed the White Helmets as an elaborate and cynical Western PR stunt promoting illegal regime change in Syria.[14] Six months later, a video featuring the leader of Tahrir al-Sham (al-Qaeda in Syria), Abu Jaber, was making the rounds on social media, showing Jaber praising the White Helmets as the “hidden soldiers of the revolution”. The video begged the following question: “If the White Helmets are so unbiased, why does Tahrir al-Sham consider them to be heroes of the ‘revolution?’” The answer, of course, is simple: the White Helmets are nothing more than a propaganda wing of al-Qaeda itself, funded by Western governments and NGOs for the purpose of creating false narratives and shock videos designed to manipulate the Western public.[15]


White Helmets: NATO-backed terrorists?

Vanessa Beeley writes that the "supposedly Syrian NGO White Helmets were established in Turkey, not in Syria. They are largely trained in Turkey and Jordan, not inside Syria. The group were established in March 2013 by a British ex-military officer with $300,000 in seed funding from Japan, the UK and the US."[16] James Le Mesurier, the officer concerned, is a private contractor whose company is based in Dubai.[17]

The current Chief of the SIS, Richard Moore, was British Ambassador to Turkey (January 2014 to December 2017) when the White Helmets were being formed.


USAIDs website suggested in 2015 that it had sent 18 million Dollar to the White Helmets:[18]

"Over $18 million in assistance to civil defense teams which act as emergency responders to everything from indiscriminate regime barrel bombings to winter storm relief to firefighting. To date, Syrian civil defense units have saved over 30,000 lives."


Financial fraud

In 2021 De Volkskrant reported that the Dutch government suppressed financial fraud by the White Helmets.[19]

False flag

On 13 April 2018, Russia stated that Britain was behind the Douma chemical attack, intending it to serve as a justification for airstrikes on Syria — which were later launched. The idea was reportedly first floated by lower-ranking Russian officials, before being promoted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.[20]

"Save Aleppo"

Staging a "Save Aleppo" protest in Europe

Tony Cartalucci, in a Land Destroyer Report datelined 3 October 2016, wrote:

Protests held across North America and Europe [When?] staged by supporters of armed militants in Syria have staged scenes in Western streets eerily similar to those featured in the photos and videos of the US-European funded “Syrian Civil Defence” also known as the White Helmets. Posing as an impartial rescue force, the White Helmets are transparently auxiliaries serving exclusively side-by-side with armed militants including US State Department, UN, and EU designated foreign terrorist organisations. Their primary function is not “rescuing” anyone, but to manage a public relations campaign aimed at swaying public and political opinion, leveraging “humanitarian” sympathy worldwide. Their primary means of doing this is publishing photos and videos of their members – wearing elaborate, matching uniforms and driving brand new ambulances – pulling dust and blood covered victims from rubble allegedly brought down upon them by Syrian and Russian airstrikes.

The veracity of their photos, videos, and many claims have never been independently verified, and in many cases, evidence suggests that much of what they present to the public across their extensive, well-funded social media presence has been fabricated.[citation needed] The coordinated “Save Aleppo” protests held across Europe and North America,[When?] perhaps revealed just how transparently fabricated and fictional the White Helmets' work really is. During one protest, photos retweeted by the official White Helmets Twitter account showed actors dressed up as “war victims", covered in fake dust and blood, appearing almost indistinguishable from the alleged “victims” the White Helmets regularly “save” in Syria. The protest, staged in European streets far from the Syrian conflict, even included children – likewise covered in fake dust and blood – cradled in the arms of adults, posing with despondent looks upon their faces. Also part of the staged scene were actors dressed like the "White Helmets" themselves.

Devastation of Syria provides a much more convincing “set” for the actors to perform on

The only difference between admittedly staged scenes in European streets during a recent “Save Aleppo” protest, and the daily output of the Western created and funded White Helmets acting troupe in Syria is that in Syria, the devastation of war provides a much more convincing “set” for the actors to perform on.

While the acting troupe that organised this protest may have thought they were cleverly “bringing the conflict to the streets of Europe” to invoke global sympathy for their cause, what they really proved was just how easy it really is for the White Helmets to create “war victims” anytime, anywhere. In Syria, where years of US-backed violence has left many parts of the country devastated, such staged scenes playing out with the devastation of war as a backdrop become all the much more convincing. With White Helmets videos heavily edited before reaching the public, they are able to create tragic scenes of war, anytime, anywhere – even in the streets of Europe thousands of miles away from where Syrian and Russian warplanes are operating. Their primary goal and that of the special interests funding them tens of millions of dollars, is to manipulate the hearts and minds of the global public in support of Western-backed armed militants – not “save lives” nor bring peace to Syria.[21]

Evacuation from Syria

The White Helmets jump the shark when they posted photos of a frog man with oxygen tank recovering a child who had allegedly drowned in a swimming pool[22]

In July 2018, a number of White Helmets and their families were evacuated from Syria by Israeli Defence Forces, crossing from northern Israel into Jordan at three points. The Israelis had initially put the numbers evacuated at 800, but later the figure was revised downwards by James Le Mesurier, a former MI5 officer who founded the group in Turkey in 2013. He said that 422 people were rescued, including 98 White Helmets. As many as 800 others did not manage to escape or chose not to do so.

Reports from Jordan indicated that Germany, Britain and Canada had given a legally binding undertaking to take the refugees within three months, Germany taking eight White Helmets members and their families, Canada taking up to 50 White Helmets and their families, totalling up to 250 people, and the UK accepting the remaining 40 White Helmets and their families.[23]

On 22 July 2018, the following petition was addressed to prime minister Theresa May: "Don't Grant Asylum to Al Qaeda Terrorists".[24]


On 30 July 2019, Twitter suspended the official account of the Russian Embassy in Syria (@RusEmbSyria) after they tweeted facts that exposed White Helmets and the terrorist organisation's manufacturing of propaganda.[25][26] On 31 July 2019, following an international outcry, the Embassy tweeted:

"Greetings from sunny #Damascus! We're back, intact and functioning normally! Thank you, friends, for your support! You did a great job to bring us back! Stay with us and encourage your friends to join, as further on in such surcumstances we'll need much stronger backup in #Syria."[27]
The 8 November 2019 tweet by Maria Zakharova

On 8 November 2019, Maria Zakharova, Press spokesperson for the Russian Federation accused the White Helmets' founder, James Le Mesurier, of being an MI6 agent with links to Al-Qaeda. He was found dead on 11 November [28]


Related Quotations

"Disinformation"“On 28 September 2023, the US Department of State released a landmark report on how the People’s Republic of China seeks to reshape the global information environment to its advantage by investing billions of dollars to construct a global information ecosystem that promotes its propaganda and facilitates censorship and the spread of "disinformation".<a href="#cite_note-4">[4]</a>
:China responded: "The US Department of State report is in itself disinformation as it misrepresents facts and truth. In fact, it is the US that invented the weaponizing of the global information space. The relevant center of the US State Department which concocted the report is engaged in propaganda and infiltration in the name of “global engagement”. It is a source of disinformation and the command center of “perception warfare”.
:"From Operation Mockingbird which bribed and manipulated news media for propaganda purposes in the Cold War era, to a vial of white powder and a staged video of the 'White Helmets' cited as evidence to wage wars of aggression in Iraq and Syria earlier this century, and then to the enormous lie made up to smear China’s Xinjiang policy, facts have proven time and again that the US is an 'empire of lies' through and through.
:"Even some in the US, such as Senator Rand Paul, acknowledged that the US government is the greatest propagator of "disinformation" in the history of the world."<a href="#cite_note-5">[5]</a>
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The People's Republic of China
30 September 2023
Max Blumenthal“The White Helmets are known around the world for rescuing civilians in Syria. But the recent death of its founder, James Le Mesurier, and an unfolding cover-up at the OPCW of an apparently staged chemical weapons incident, has shed new light on the group’s shadowy role in the Syria proxy war. We speak to The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal, whose reporting has exposed the White Helmets’ ties to jihadists groups and its use as a PR tool for Western military intervention in Syria. Blumenthal explains that the White Helmets group (originally known as ARK<a href="#cite_note-5">[5]</a>) was founded and trained in Turkey and financed by UK, US, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In Operation Timber Sycamore, and in conjunction with Al-Qaeda and ISIS, the White Helmets were tasked with carrying out regime change ("transition") in Syria and then occupying the country ("stabilisation"). Many slick videos of the work of the White Helmets were produced and in one they are described by British journalist John Cantlie as the Islamic State Fire Brigade.”Max Blumenthal
Aaron Maté


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Another Chemical Weapon False Flag on the Eve of Peace Talks in Brusselsarticle4 April 2017Paul AntonopoulosThe Khan Sheikoun gas attack in Idlib province, like that in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013, can be a very useful means of propaganda
Document:Douma ‘attack’ witnesses speak at Russia-called OPCW briefing at The HagueArticle26 April 2018Halil al-Jaish who tended to people at the Douma hospital that day, told the press conference that some of the patients had indeed experienced respiratory problems. The symptoms, however, were caused by heavy dust, which engulfed the area due to recent airstrikes, and no one showed any signs of chemical warfare poisoning.
Document:Importing Jihadi Terror to the UK – Cui Bonoblog post25 September 2018Craig MurrayImporting the White Helmets into the UK is obviously nuts if your purpose is to minimise jihadi activity in the UK
Document:Journey To Aleppo Part I: Exposing The Truth Buried Under NATO PropagandaArticle20 September 2016Vanessa BeeleyThe Syrian people are suffering under the ‘moderate rebels’ and ‘opposition forces’ backed by the US, NATO member states and their allies in the Gulf states and Israel. Yet their suffering is largely ignored in the mainstream media unless it furthers the agenda dictated by the US State Department.
Document:Monbiot is not only a hypocrite, but a bully tooArticle12 January 2018Jonathan CookIt is time for George Monbiot’s legion of supporters to call him out. Not only is he a hypocrite, but he is becoming an increasingly dangerous one!
Document:Narrative Managers In Overdrive After Death Of White Helmets Founderblog post12 November 2019Caitlin JohnstoneThere is an immense narrative management campaign dedicated to controlling what people think about what’s happening in Syria. Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. Official Narrative control comes before any other priority the empire might have: before resources, before land, before even war itself. It’s up to us to see through their lies and bring an end to the lie factory.
Document:Robert Fisk visits the Syria clinic at the centre of a global crisisWikispooks Page17 April 2018Robert Fisk"A Syrian colonel I came across behind one of these buildings asked if I wanted to see how deep the tunnels were. I stopped after well over a mile when he cryptically observed that 'this tunnel might reach as far as Britain'. Ah yes, Ms May, I remembered, whose air strikes had been so intimately connected to this place of tunnels and dust. And gas?"
Document:Russia Claims US Deploys Warships For Imminent Attack On Syria, Trains Militants For False Flag Attackblog post17 March 2018'Tyler Durden'United States-led coalition to "retaliate" for another false flag chemical attack done by the White Helmets in Syria
Document:SITREP: A false flag attack on a USN ship nextblog post21 April 2018'Nick for the Saker'The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, which comprises the cruiser USS Normandy, six destroyers and carries 6,500 sailors, is heading for Syria. Russia’s hypersonic Kinzhal (‘Dagger’) missile system having made these vessels effectively obsolete, means that the ships and their crews are essentially being sailed into a bloody scrapyard.
Document:Swedish Medical Association Says White Helmets Murdered Kids for Fake Gas Attack Videosarticle6 April 2017Gordon DuffPresident Trump is now threatening to take America into a war against Syria, Iran and even Russia, a war he says is justified by “evidence” he received from Al Qaeda's White Helmets, a “Deep State” organisation funded by the CIA and MI6
Document:The Last Bus to Idlib: Terrorist Safe-Haven in Syria About to Face a Cleaning OutArticle3 August 2018Steven SahiounieOne by one, all other areas in Syria under terrorist control have fallen, and now the final battle for Idlib province looms large on the horizon. The liberation of Idlib will begin soon, and the green buses can finally get back to their job of transporting Syrians as they live, shop and work in peace at last.
Document:The Sad Death of James Le Mesurierblog post12 November 2019Craig MurrayJames Le Mesurier’s usefulness to Western security services, Israel and their Gulf allies came to an end when the jihadist headchoppers to whom Le Mesurier had been providing logistic support and invaluable propaganda, lost their last secure footing in Syria.
Document:The World: What is Really Happeningblog post25 May 2019Craig MurrayAlleged nerve gas attack in Syria - Amanda Martin tweets to George Monbiot: "Don't you smell a set up here though? Craig Murray doesn't think Assad did it."
Document:Verdict First, Evidence Later: Khan Sheikhoun Gas Attackarticle11 April 2017James O'NeillThree days before the tragedy at Khan Sheikhoun a convoy of TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) missiles, gas masks for up to 2000 persons and chemical warfare suits from Saudi Arabian stockpiles left Hatay in Turkey for Idlib in Syria where al Nusra are in control.
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  1. "White Helmets Whitewash: founder's death, OPCW scandal lift mask on al-Qaeda's ally in Syria"
  2. "Why Everything You Hear About Aleppo Is Wrong"
  3. "Syria Civil Defence twitter page"
  4. "‘We Saved 60,000’ – Bogus Claim by Syria’s White Helmets Raises Even More Questions"
  5. "UK may increase aid to Syrian White Helmets after Trump pulls funding"
  6. "U.S. Denies Entry To Syrian Aid Worker Who Came To Receive Humanitarian Award"
  7. "The Guardian view on the Nobel peace prize: give it to Syria’s White Helmets"
  8. "Congratulations to LSE alumnus @JuanManSantos on winning the #NobelPeacePrize"
  9. "Syria's 'White Helmets' are terrorists"
  10. "Soros-Sponsored NGO in Syria Aims at Ousting Assad, Not Saving Civilians"
  11. a b http://theindicter.com/the-white-helmets-whitewashing-story-part-ii-white-helmets-apologists-deconstructed/
  12. "Vanessa Beeley on Youtube"
  13. "UK Government’s ‘Free Syrian’ Rabbit Hole: Afshin Rattansi Interviews Vanessa Beeley on Going Underground"
  14. "CrossTalk: White Helmets, Really?"
  15. "Al-Qaeda Leader Praises White Helmets As 'Hidden Soldiers Of The Revolution'"
  16. http://www.mintpressnews.com/investigation-white-helmets-committing-acts-terror-across-syria/231597/
  17. "Syria’s White Helmets: War by Way of Deception – Part I"
  18. https://web.archive.org/web/20151125204140/https://www.usaid.gov/political-transition-initiatives/syria
  19. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/523413-dutch-government-fraud-white-helmets/
  20. "Russia says Syria chemical attack was false flag by Britain and the White Helmets"
  21. "WHITE HELMETS: 'Save Aleppo' Protest Proves How Easy it is to Dress Up Actors as 'War Victims'”
  22. https://twitter.com/syriacivildef/status/1280841595819098112
  23. "UK agrees to take in some White Helmets evacuated from Syria by Israel"
  24. "Don't Grant Asylum to Al Qaeda Terrorists"
  25. "Russian Embassy in Syria Twitter account @RusEmbSyria has been suspended by @Twitter"
  26. "Twitter suspends Russian embassy in Syria after it criticised White Helmets"
  27. "Greetings from sunny #Damascus!"
  28. "Zakharova: Moscow urges London to clarify whether founder of 'White Helmets' had connections to Al-Qaeda""