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The White Helmets, by Vanessa Beeley



“Syria – Six Years On:From Destruction to Reconstruction.






My name is VanessaBeeley.  I am an independent investigative journalist, writer andphotographer based in France. I contribute regularly to various independentmedia sites such as 21st Century Wire, the Ron Paul Institute, Global research,Mint Press. In 2016 I spent a total of three months in Syria, including Aleppoin August and then in December following in the tracks of the SAA as theyliberated East Aleppo from the Nusra Front led armed militant and extremistoccupation. 


Forthe last two years I have been conducting an ongoing investigation into theWhite Helmets, the much promoted, so called, Syrian humanitarian NGO that hasrecently achieved Hollywood fame through the Oscar, awarded to the Netflixdocumentary, showcasing White Helmet exploits in Syria. This investigationculminated in my going to Syria to expand my enquiries and research on theground inside Syria.


Whoare the White Helmets according to the White Helmets, created in 2013 [1]


1:neutral, impartial, humanitarian NGO, with no officialaffiliation to any political or military actor and a commitment to renderservices to any in need regardless of sect or political affiliation.


2: Motto is “To save onelife is to save all humanity” so non-sectarian and operating without bias


3: They are unarmed


4: They have saved 82,000lives since they began working in Syria from end of 2013/early 2014


5: They are Syrian and theimpression is given that the White Helmets are the primary USAR organisationoperating inside Syria


My in-depth investigationinto the legitimacy of these claims have raised some very disturbing anomalies,that have never been identified or raised by the mainstream media in the UK, EUor US, with some very minor exceptions. Why not? I will now run through myfindings but I must emphasize that I am far from being alone in raising thefollowing concerns, many of my colleagues in independent media and NGOsfostering peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict have conducted their ownanalysis and drawn very similar conclusions:


1: The White Helmets receivefunding from UK Foreign Office, curiously through the Conflict, Stability andSecurity fund for NON-HUMANITARIAN AID [2]


 the totalvalue of funds committed betweenJune 2013 and the end of the current financial year (31 March 2016) is £19.7m” in astatement made by the Foreign & Commonwealth office. [3]


At theend of September 2016 Boris Johnson pledged a further £ 32m.


The UShas funded the WH a disclosed $ 23 m via their USAID/Chemonics networks thiswas admitted by Mark Toner of the US State Dept. [4]


A lookat various other EU government websites, reveal that:

Holland ($ 4.5m), Germany($ 7.87m) Japan (undisclosed sum from the Intl Cooperation Agency), Denmark(undisclosed sum). The White Helmets also receive equipment and supplies fromvarious EU member states. 

This funding is concealedbehind the generic heading of “Emergency Health and Relief Support to thePopulation Affected by the Crisis inSyria”, through the Directorate-General for EuropeanCivil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG-ECHO), formerly knownas the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office. [5]

More recently Qatar hasalso confirmed funding of the White Helmets. Qatar is known to be funding manyof the extremist factions operating inside Syria.


All governments fundingthe White Helmets have publicly declared an interest in removing PresidentAssad and effecting “regime change” in Syria and must surely compromise theirproclaimed neutrality.


2:  The White Helmets wereestablished in Turkey, not in Syria.  They are largelytrained in Turkey and Jordan, not inside Syria. They were established in March2013 by a British ex-military officer, James Le Mesurier with $ 300k seedfunding from Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. [6]


3: The White Helmets areembedded exclusively in areas of Syria occupied by listed terroristorganisations including Nusra Front and ISIS, along with various associated‘moderate rebels’ such as Ahrar al Sham and Nour Al Din Zinki.  All these groups& sub-groups are responsible for carrying out ethnic cleansing pogroms anddocumented atrocities against the Syrian people. Nour Al Din Zinki videoedthemselves beheading 12 year-old Palestinian child, Abdullah Issa in July 2016.Like the White Helmets, the majority of these armed groups receive funding,training, equipment and support from the United States and its Coalitionpartners, particularly the Gulf states. A fact that is extensively documented. [7]


4:  During the situation inMadaya, Syria in January 2016, the White Helmets in Idlib were photographedattending demonstrations & carrying banners that were calling for the“burning and destruction” of the towns of Kafarya and Foua. These are two Idlibvillages under full siege by Ahrar Al Sham & Nusra Front (Al Qaeda inSyria) since March 2015, partial siege since 2012.  The siege ensures thestarvation of villagers and daily shelling and sniping by Ahrar Al Sham andNusra Front has killed over 1750 civilians during this time.




5: There is video and photographic evidence available thatclearly shows the White Helmets participating in Nusra Front operations in theareas occupied or taken over by this organisation. There is one particularlydamning video taken during the Nusra Front violent and brutal attack on IdlibCity in March 2015. In this video White Helmet operatives are seen clearlybeating a Syrian civilian prisoner of Nusra Front and circling the prisoner,mingling with heavily armed and hostile Nusra Front militia. [8]


6:  May 5th2015 the White Helmets were filmed “clearing up” aftera Nusra Front execution of a civilian prisoner inNorthern Aleppo.  Although the official statement from the White Helmetsclaims they arrived after the execution, the speed with which they appear (invideo) immediately after the prisoner has been shot in the head, demonstratesclearly that they were on the scene and did nothing to prevent it.[9]




7: Various other WhiteHelmet operatives have posted videos of the torture and execution of SyrianArab Army prisoners or to their social media pages with celebratorycomments.  One such operative, Muawiya Hassan Agha,is alleged to have been “sacked” from the White Helmets, for his participationin one such execution of 2 SAA prisoners of war in Khan Touman, S Aleppo May2016, a clear violation of all ethics surrounding an “impartial” NGO. However,despite various demands, an official statement has never been issued by theWhite Helmets. Neither have they publicly condemned the torture and executionof prisoners of war, an act that contravenes the Geneva Convention. Within 3 weeks of his alleged sacking, Agha appeared in White Helmetphotographs as one of their photographers. [10]


8: The leader of the White Helmets, Raed Saleh, was deportedfrom Dulles Airport in the US, April 2016.  No real explanation was evergiven for this decision.  Mark Toner of the US State Department fieldedquestions from media but did (i) Admit to funding the group with $ 23m and (ii)suggest that Raed Saleh might have “extremist connections”.  Raed Salehhas recently been allowed back into the US in September 2016 and spoke at theUN New York with the Dutch Mission, he was involved in the closed sessions withSyrian activists and then secretary of State, John Kerry, published by the NYT.[11]


8a: While onthe subject of Raed Saleh, who is the leader and global representative of theWhite Helmets, he is a close colleague of another White Helmet leader in KhanSheikhoun, Idlib, Mustafa Al Haj Yussef. Yussef has been with the WH since 2013and is photographed in Idlib with Raed Saleh. Yussef’s social media accounts revealthe following: [12]




·        Hehas called for the unity of extremist factions such as Nusra Front and Ahrar alSham

·        Hehas clearly professed allegiance and support for Ahrar Al Sham, responsible forthe massacres in the Alawite village of Al Zaraa May 2016

·        Hepublicly calls for the shelling of civilians in Damascus during the 2014elections.

·        Headvocates the extreme of executing civilians during Ramadan if they fail tofast

·        Heendorses the looting of SAA houses after their capture or execution which healso publicly calls for.


If the head of the RedCross were committing such ethical breaches, we would surely be calling for afull investigation.




9: The White Helmets arealso referred to as the ‘Syria Civil Defence.’ However, there is an existingSyria Civil Defence. The REAL Syria Civil Defence wasestablished in Syria in 1953.  I met with crews in Aleppo,Lattakia, Tartous and Damascus during my four weeks in Syria.  The REALSyria Civil Defence were founder members of the ICDO [International CivilDefence Organisation] which is affiliated with the UN, WHO, OCHA, Red Cross,Red Crescent.  The REAL Syria Civil Defence are still paying annualsubscriptions to the ICDO of 20,000 Swiss Francs $ 20k.  The REAL SyriaCivil Defence operated in both government and armed militia held areas up to2016 when it was decided they should only work in the Syrian government heldareas for their own protection as the armed groups had been deliberately targetingtheir crew members when on a rescue mission in occupied areas. However, it mustbe noted that the REAL Syria Civil defence working in Syrian government heldareas, actually service 80% of the Syrian population inside Syria, includingthe over 6m IDPs who have also fled to the government held towns and cities.[13]




The Real Syria CivilDefence are recruited and trained inside Syria & have been in existence for60 years.


When the White Helmetswere making a concerted bid to win the Nobel Peace Prize last year, supportedalmost universally by mainstream media in the UK, the internet link to the RSCDat the ICDO was mysteriously re-routed to the White Helmets. I called the ICDOand spoke with their representative who assured me that it was an adminmistake, during our conversation the following statements were made by thisrepresentative, there is a full audio recording of this conversation available.[14]


1: The WhiteHelmets are not recognised by the ICDO & are not members of the ICDO

2: The WhiteHelmets are not even “concretely” a civil defence organisation

3: The WhiteHelmets is the “wrong” civil defence

4: The only civildefence recognised by the ICDO and the UN is the “official” Syria CivilDefence


Western publicperception has been deceived into believing the White Helmets are the onlySyria Civil Defence, thus “disappearing” over 4000 REAL Syria Civil defenceworkers.



10: August 2016 interviewswith the REAL Syria Civil Defence,  I was informed that the Nusra Front andassociated ‘moderate rebels’ who invaded areas such as East Aleppo, Raqqa, DeirEzzor, Idlib, massacred crew members of the REAL Syria Civil Defence and stolethe majority of their equipment in those areas, including fire engines andambulances. Many of these armed groups then became White Helmet operatives.Testimony from the REAL Syria Civil Defence suggested that the White Helmetsare acting as support for Nusra Front, ISIS and other heavily armed militiadescribed as “moderate rebels”. [15]


AleppoAugust 2016,I conducted a short video interview with Dr Bassem Hayak of the Aleppo MedicalAssociation, based in West Aleppo. Hayak told me that his family, trapped inEast Aleppo had never seen the White Helmets and Hayak said even the UNagencies still operating in East Aleppo such as the SARC had not encounteredthe WH.


This testimony wasfurther confirmed by the civilian statements I gathered while in East Aleppoduring liberation, visiting each district as it was retaken by the SAA


All civilians I spoke to,perhaps over 50 from all districts, were confused when I asked them if theyknew the White Helmets. When I asked if they knew of a civil defence, theirimmediate response was “yes, yes Nusra Front civil defence”. All these uneditedinterviews are available on my YouTube channel and in my reports. I was toldthat the White Helmets did not help civilians, they were a support group forNusra Front, Ahrar Al Sham, Nour al Din Zinki etc. Some told me they werethieves, that they would steal from the victims bodies. One man told LizziePhelan of RT that they killed his baby girl by injecting air into her veins. Iwas told no medical treatment was available for civilians during the five yearlong occupation. [16]


PierreLe Corf, a young Frenchman working as an independent humanitarian volunteer inAleppo, filmed the main White Helmet centre in East Aleppo after the WH hadleft in the buses that evacuated the armed groups including Nusra Front. Hisfilm shows us that the White Helmet centre, the main one in East Aleppo, wasintegrated into the Nusra Front compound [Al Qaeda in Syria] and that thisWhite Helmet centre was adorned with a variety of graffitti and flagsaffirming the White Helmet affiliation to the various terrorist groups. Healso found documents proving that the White Helmets were working directly forNusra Front and the various other extremist groups. [17]


Thevideo is also available on my YouTube channel.




11: On multiple occasions,the White Helmets have been exposed stagingrescue scenes for both photo and video,recycling images of children and incidents from the conflict in Syria, tosupport their narrative, editing video which misrepresents the scene inquestion, using images from a previous incident or even fake images altogether.There are many documented instances of this but perhaps the most recent and themost disturbing is the investigation by SWEDHR who analysed the WH report onthe alleged Sarmin chlorine gas attacks in March 2015. The WH video was presentedat the UN in another closed door session instigated by then US Ambassador,Samantha Power, and “reduced the UN officials to tears”.


The video depicts threenaked, lifeless children being treated for the alleged chlorine gas inhalation.The youngest child has a hypodermic syringe inserted into his chest and movedaround erratically before being withdrawn.


The SWEDHR examined thevideo from a professional medical & ethical perspective and came to thefollowing shocking conclusions:


·        “After examination of the video material, Ifound that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless,are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in termsof life-saving purposes of children”. – Dr Leif Elinder

·        Intracutaneous injectionwith adrenalin procedure…is not correctly performed and would have resulted inthe death of the child, if not already dead.

·        In studying the film closely SWEDHRconcluded that the liquid level in the syringe does not change, therefore thechild is being stabbed with the syringe needle for no reason.

·        “I think that even from the very briefvideo, we can see that this child has a reduced level of consciousness: he doesnot vocalize, does not open his eyes, and his only movements are to turn hishead to one side and to open his mouth before he stops breathing altogether.This looks like respiratory depression, rather than injury to the lungs; heappears to be too sleepy to breathe.  I think the most likely diagnosis isa drug overdose causing reduced level of consciousness and respiratorydepression.  Opiates are the most likely class of drug to cause this.Chlorine causes acute inhalation injury, but does not (in any of the sources Ihave read) cause reduced level of consciousness: the victim struggles to breatheuntil the end.”


The implications of thisconclusion by a recognised organisation of medical experts are horrifying. Didthe White Helmets use already dead children as propaganda props? Why has thisinvestigation not been aired by any one of the mainstream media? [18] [18a]




12: The White Helmets havebeen filmed describing Syrian Arab Army bodies as “trash” and one particularvideo shows them standing on top of a pile of SAA soldier’s bodies, whose bootshave been removed or stolen.  The White Helmets talk about the bodies inpejorative terms and they flick a victory V sign as the truck drives off.


Remembering, of course,their claims of neutrality.




13: There are multiple images documented and archived that revealthe White Helmet operatives carrying arms or posing with arms alongside thevarious armed militia including Nusra Front.  There is also furtherfootage from Idlib, March 2015, showing White Helmet operatives celebratingalongside Nusra Front militia after the massacre of Syrian Arab Army forces andSyrian civilians during this attack. [19]


14: Adulatory publicity aboutthe White Helmets is the result of a multimillion dollar sustained commercialmarketing and social media promotional campaign via a network that is funded byGeorge Soros and various US, UK and Middle Eastern enterprises. The PR networkis as follows: Avaaz – Purpose – Syria Campaign – White Helmets and is detailed by CoryMorningstar and Rick Sterling in their respective articles. [20]


15: Analysts have observed,the White Helmets achieve on average 4 or 5 videos per day, depicting theirheroic rescue efforts. The REAL Syria Civil Defence have evaluated these videosand cast doubt as to the White Helmets being true first responders or USAR(Urban Search and Rescue) experts.  They pinpointed various anomalies (i)the equipment used is too heavyweight for the delicate operation of findingbodies beneath collapsed buildings (ii) the treatment of injured bodies isdangerous, they are flung onto stretchers with no back support or neck brace,for example.  Many of the paramedic procedures shown on film are alsodeemed questionable. The White Helmets rarely travel without a sizeable camerateam or crew of mobile phone cameramen. The REAL Syria Civil Defence do not,they are too busy to consider PR.


The White Helmets claimto have saved over 82,000 lives, however there is no documentation of theselives, no names, no records. With all the logistical and financial supportbeing received by this group, is it too much to ask?




In summary, this evidencepoints to the White Helmets being a US, UK, EU creation established in 2013,and not an independent NGO.  It is a multi-million dollar US UK Coalitionfunded organisation. It is funded by governments involved & invested in theSyrian conflict. No one can rightly call this a grass-roots Syrianorganisation.


There is an existingSyria Civil Defence that is being ignored by western media.  Runningparallel there is a vast fund raising network constructed to collect moneywhich is funnelled into the White Helmets designed to replace the authenticSyria Civil Defence in the minds of the western public. The REAL Syria CivilDefence is crippled by US and EU sanctions, the White Helmets have never beenaffected by these sanctions, their supply chain via Turkey is unbroken.


Conservative estimatesput White Helmets funding at over $150 million thus far, which is far more thanany real NGO would ever require in a decade, much less 3 years. Tax payers infunding countries have a right to know precisely what and who their money isfunding.


The evidence demonstratesthat the White Helmets are sectarian not impartial. They are in many instances,armed not unarmed. The promotional material produced for the White Helmets suchas the recent Netflix documentary film, is often produced outside ofSyria, usually in Turkey, and with any field footage supplied by the WhiteHelmets. Who has verified the authenticity of this footage, or photographs?


The White Helmets arefeeding images of “humanitarian disaster” and “war crimes” to the very samewestern nations who are funding them, and to politicians and media outlets whoare using these visual narratives, with the explicit purpose of lobbying for aUS, UK Foreign Office proposed, “Safe Zone” or “No Fly Zone” in Syria. Recenthistory teaches us, this No Fly Zone policy carries with it the threat ofreducing Syria to a Libya-style “failed state.”


Effectively, thisalleged, impartial, neutral, apolitical, organisation actively campaigns for anescalation of war in Syria. This alone, should disqualify the White Helmets asa humanitarian organisation.


One ofthe funders of the Netflix Documentary withdrew considerable funding from theproject in October 2016. The Threshold Foundation published a statement givingreasons for the withdrawal: [21]


“We have since learned that the subject of the film(the White Helmets organization) and others involved in this film areadvocating for strategies that could entail international military force andescalated violence.”


Many of the WhiteHelmet  ‘campaigns’ have since beendiscredited as “war fiction”, and yet they are being used by the UK USCoalition as justification for continuing and increased economic and diplomaticsanctions, sanctions which are a collective punishment on the Syrian people,while the US coalition persists with equipping and arming the variousmilitia on the ground in Syria, including Nusra Front (al Qaeda in Syria).


This only serves toensure even more suffering and bloodshed inside Syria and delays thepossibility of any real, peaceful resolution. It is incumbent upon us to ensurea full enquiry into the White Helmets as a part of the ongoing peace process.




[1] White Helmet &Syria Campaign website: and


[2] Guardian article onenquiry into Conflict, Stability and Security Fund:


[3] Statement on fundingof White Helmets from UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office:


[4] Mark Toner of USState Dept admitting $ 23m funding to White Helmets:


[5] Agreements forHumanitarian Aid in Syria awarded by ECHO in 2015


[6] Vanessa Beeley: TheWhite Helmets - War by Way of Deception - Part I:


[7] Vanessa Beeley: TheWhite Helmets, War by Way of Deception – Part II:


[8] Video showing WhiteHelmet operative beating civilian prisoner of Nusra Front in Idlib March 2015:


[9] See Vanessa BeeleyWar by Way of Deception Part II [7]


[10] Warning Graphicfootage of the execution of the two SAA prisoners of war, Khan Touman:


[11] Vanessa Beeley – WhoAre Syria’s White Helmets:


[12] Vanessa Beeley –Raed Saleh’s Terrorist Connections Within the White Helmets:


[13] Vanessa Beeley – TheREAL Syria Civil Defence Exposes White Helmets as Al Qaeda Linked Imposters:


[14] Full audio recordingof conversation with ICDO:


[15] Vanessa Beeley –Journey To Aleppo Part I, REAL Syrians Helping REAL Syrians:


[16] Vanessa Beeley –Compilation of testimonies taken from Syrian Civilians liberated from NusraFront-led occupation of East Aleppo:


[17] Pierre Le Corf videoof M10 hospital in East Aleppo and main White Helmet centre in Nusra Frontcompound:


[18] Swedish Doctors forHuman Rights Investigations Part I and II:   AND


[18a] Statement fromRussian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova on Swedish Doctors conclusions:


[19] See Vanessa Beeley,War by Way of Deception Part II:


[20] Rick Sterling –Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators:


[21] Threshold Foundationstatement: