Saturday 12 January 2019 - 07:15

Western-backed White Helmets still in Jordan, active in Syria provocations: Russia

Story Code : 771636
Members of the White Helmets clear debris from buildings in the town of Urum al-Kubra, Aleppo Province, Syria, January 5, 2019. (Photo by AFP)
Members of the White Helmets clear debris from buildings in the town of Urum al-Kubra, Aleppo Province, Syria, January 5, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a media briefing on Friday that the White Helmets had been promised shelter in European countries, but "the matter has not been resolved so far."

"Clearly, the West is not ready to welcome those who were involved in serious crimes," she added.

The White Helmets claims to be a humanitarian NGO, but it has been accused of working with anti-Damascus terrorists and staging false-flag chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad described the White Helmets as “a branch of al-Qaeda and al-Nusra" militant outfits and a “PR stunt” by the US, the UK and France.

Western countries decided last year to rescue White Helmets members amid stepped-up territorial gains made by the Syrian army against Takfiri terrorists.

Last July, hundreds of White Helmets volunteers and their family members were evacuated from Syria to Israel and then to Jordan, to be resettled later in the UK, Canada, and Germany.

Elsewhere in her remarks, Zakharova said that a group of White Helmets still remains in Jordan.

"They are actively participating in provocations staged in Syria, and they also cooperated with terrorists," she noted.

The Russian official further stressed that the White Helmets' sponsors are afraid of the threat posed by the group to their own citizens.

"Supporting instigators in a foreign country is one thing, but welcoming them on your own territory is quite another matter, as it creates threats for your citizens," she said. "It is also possible that once out of the Middle East, some White Helmets members would be ready to tell the truth about their activities in Syria. Their sponsors are definitely not interested in that."

The White Helmets was founded in Turkey in 2013 by former British MI5 officer James Le Mesurier.

Since its establishment, the group has received at least $55 million from the British Foreign Office, $23 million or more from the US Office of Transition Initiatives and untold millions from Qatar. 

UK-made arms uncovered in Syria
Separately on Friday, the Syrian government forces discovered weapons and munitions, some of them manufactured in the UK, and vehicles belonging to the White Helmets during a clean-up operation in the western countryside of Damascus and Quneitra provinces.

Syria’s official SANA news agency reported that the arms had been left behind by the terrorists.