Almost £200 million of British taxpayers’ money has gone to supporting Syrian opposition groups, independent journalist Vanessa Beeley told RT. One of the groups to benefit from the funds are the White Helmets, which are alleged to have links with terrorists.
Speaking to George Galloway on his RT show Sputnik, Beeley said the funds were released from the UK’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) to support the Syrian opposition. She said part of that money was used by the White Helmets to feed media outlets that are rarely in Syria and offer a false narrative of what is happening there.
“If we look at the narrative produced from Aleppo… it never came from the 1.5 million majority in West Aleppo that was government-held and government-protected, but who lost over 11,000 civilians from mortar fire from East Aleppo – so from the Western-backed terrorists in East Aleppo.
“The narrative came from East Aleppo and it came from affiliates of Nusra Front, which included the White Helmets and from citizen activists that had been produced in Gaziantep [in Turkey], with money coming in from the UK government,” she added.
“[The UK government] actually admitted very recently that almost £200 million [US$260 million] has gone from this public fund into funding the Syrian opposition inside Syria.
“So in other words, all of these journalists, media activists, who were trained in Turkey and then infiltrated back into Syria, to product the propaganda, and that includes the White Helmets.”
The White Helmets have been hailed by the Western media as “peace-bearing heroes” who save lives. A Netflix documentary film praising the group as “unarmed and neutral civilian volunteers” even won an Oscar for best documentary short feature in February.
However, the group has long been plagued by allegations of having ties with terrorist groups. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said in April that the White Helmets are involved in covering up terrorist crimes.
“The White Helmets not only feel at home on territories controlled by Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL], but also openly express positive attitudes towards them, providing them with information and even financial assistance,” she said at the time.
Beeley has previously told RT that Aleppo residents, who have lived under terrorist rule for five years, “witnessed the White Helmets working alongside Al-Nusra Front as well as participating in executions and torture and working as an Al-Nusra Front civil defense unit.”
She went on to say that the “White Helmets is a major construct funded by the UK, the US, the EU and the Gulf States that promulgates the propaganda against the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army,” and that this can partly explain the media silence when such scandals emerge.
In June, a member of the White Helmets was caught on camera helping a group of unidentified militants disposing of bodies of beheaded Syrian Army or pro-government soldiers in Daraa province.
In another incident in May, footage emerged showing several members of the group’s rescue team helping to remove a body of a man shot dead by rebels in the town of Jasim, also in Daraa province.