The Not-So-White Helmets of Aleppo

During last year’s intensive media coverage of the war in Syria, a humanitarian group known as the White Helmets was featured prominently in reports. Based in Aleppo, they became famous for rescuing people and providing medical aid for victims of attacks by the Russians or the Assad regime.

The White Helmets were the subject of a documentary, and merited a lengthy report in Time Magazine:

The White Helmets work across the shattered interior of Syria, wherever Assad’s aircraft roll out barrel bombs or Russian fighters direct their missiles. But more and more, that work is in Aleppo. The country’s largest city, it is where the forces of Assad and his allies are ramping up for a possibly titanic assault. As many as 300,000 people are living under siege in the city’s eastern section, which the rebels have held since the early days of the war, but are now cut off from the countryside beyond.

Given the notorious actions of the Red Crescent and other Islamic charities in the Gaza Strip in recent decades, one would expect a modicum of skepticism on the part of the news media. But no; all the reportage was packed with glowing accolades, as if it were lifted verbatim from the organization’s own press releases. And according to the venerable hoaxbusting site Snopes — which would have pounced aggressively on the White Helmets had they been known to have connections with the Assad regime — there’s nothing to see here folks, time to move along:

Whatever their motives may be, we found no credible evidence that the White Helmets are linked to terrorist organizations. The accusations seem to be levied at the group based on political motivations, not evidence.

But now that the “rebels” have been pushed out of Aleppo, actual evidence has emerged concerning the affiliations of the White Helmets.

Pierre Le Corf is the founder of the charity We Are Superheroes, which is helping to rebuild Syria. He investigated the abandoned wreckage of the White Helmets’ headquarters and discovered that it was all but coterminous with the headquarters of the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra. Jihad flags for al-Nusra and the Islamic State featured prominently in its offices and workrooms. Both facilities were directly adjacent to a badly damaged hospital — which had been used as a gun emplacement by the jihad groups when they fought against the advance of Assad’s forces.

The two videos below were recorded by Pierre Le Corf. In them he gives the viewer a brief guided tour of the ruins and takes note of what he found there.

Many thanks to Ava Lon for translating video #1, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video #2: (already subtitled):

Pierre Le Corf’s Facebook page

From the notes accompanying the second video (also translated by Ava Lon):

Some photos I took yesterday [March 10, 2017] that will give you another perspective on white helmets and different lies from the media and governments. Truths about the war in Syria, in Aleppo. Hospitals totally destroyed and neutral helmets, heroes in Aleppo? An Oscar? A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize? At what price will we continue to LIE and kill, to justify this war, to support terrorist groups, to keep a country on the brink of suffocation like the others before? I’ve quickly compiled some pictures that I took yesterday that will give you another perspective.

As a French citizen, I refuse to support a criminal policy. In order to illustrate a little better what I talk about in my letter to the President of the Republic, while clouds of the dust of war arriving from Iraq make the air almost unbreathable, in less than two hours I return — via images — to two hospitals in decent condition; I have to walk on tons of medicines reserved for terrorist groups and forbidden to civilians. I cross the remains of the buildings enslaved by Al-Jaish al-Hur (Free Syrian Army), Jabhat al-Nusra (or Fatah al-Sham, al-Qaeda) … buildings of the White Helmets who, as the inhabitants reminded me, mainly helped terrorists. Concerning civilians… when the camera was turned on, and sometimes only then, they sometimes carried arms, executed Syrian soldiers, participated in executions ordered by the Islamic courts, robbed the victims, etc. But a crucial point: almost all the members were affiliated with the terrorist groups mentioned above.

Watch the testimony in the video on the White Helmets by my friend Vanessa Beeley — we were together during some of these accounts when she accompanied me to distribute toys at the liberation. Another interesting video compiling many images that were never shown to you. My testimony is sad; there are probably some exceptions, probably some of the White Helmets were civilians with good intentions, who were under the bombs dropped from the planes (not free, it’s a war, but in response to jihadist gunfire from civilian areas fired on the only civilian areas of the west and massacring a population that accounted for 90% of Aleppo while the media were silent), helped real people who were dying because of their proximity to armed groups, who used them as human shields (even shooting from hospitals …) is a reality, but the real majority were jihadists (proved by the documents found at the site); they were those who brought death on those who ended up under the rubble, and finally in their trucks, and in their videos; we must not forget the situations of cause and effect; it is nevertheless ironic and rather vicious.

The reality goes beyond fiction here, in this neighborhood, (all in schools that they have transformed, as you can see from the beginning) the headquarters of Al Nora, the Qatar Red Crescent, the M10 hospital and above all the headquarters of the helmets are rubbing shoulders here. The video is not well-mounted etc. but a picture is worth a thousand words and it is essential for you to understand the extent of the lies … how much we must ask to stop support for this war as well as sanctions against the Syrian people, as a stakeholder in terrorism. Again, although I share what can be called evidence, I still do not pretend to tell you what to think; form your own opinion.

Transcript of video #1:

00:00   We are in a neighborhood of western Aleppo. I’m making this video to show you something.
00:04   You make of it what you want. I’m not here to
00:08   tell you what to believe, and what to think. But I think that it’s important
00:12   to know. Here I am in the former Town Council of Aleppo city
00:16   the head quarters of the political rebels.
00:20   Here it was White Helmets, and here…
00:28   it’s Syria Charity.
00:32   Voilà. It’s a video that I find important, because
00:36   when you enter the Syria Charity you can find plenty
00:40   of interesting things. Already
00:44   …Syria Charity, as I told you, isn’t called Syria Charity here, but For a Free Syria
00:48   For a Free Syria
00:52   For a Free Syria, with the flag of the Free Army. The Free Army today is
00:56   a unified regrouping a certain number of jihadi groups. While walking, you find
01:00   plenty of their belongings, for example flags.
01:04   “Of course,” you will tell me, and I’m telling you, it’s not a flag
01:08   of liberty, it’s the flag of Jabat al-Nusra.
01:12   I found it a minute ago, as well; and you know the logo.
01:16   It doesn’t come from… it’s an ISIS flag.
01:20   You can find documents;
01:24   you can find books.
01:28   It’s the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front; those are armed jihadi groups,
01:32   and it says:
01:36   “How do I fight in the name of jihad?”
01:40   It’s a reality in the field, which is
01:45   which is… and if I,
01:49   and if I cannot question the fact that obviously the association is helping people,
01:53   here, there are a number of associations connected
01:57   very closely with armed groups, and who work with them. I mean this,
02:01   I didn’t print it before coming here. Same with the
02:05   flag of Jabat al-Nusra, I don’t have it in my pocket. Those are
02:09   elements you can find a bit of here everywhere in the building
02:13   between Syria Charity
02:17   and Ummah Charity.
02:25   Again, you do absolutely what you want
02:29   with all this… there are… again, look! This is Jabat al-Islamii.
02:33   It’s a terrorist group subordinate to
02:37   Jabat al Nusra. There were also documents from Islamic Tribunal.
02:41   Voilà. You do with it what you want. I’m only sharing with you
02:45   what I see in the field. I’m not questioning the fact that they help people, no.
02:49   They are probably doing it, and were doing it… voilà.
02:53   But the reality is, unfortunately, that they also bring war. As I told you, the problem
02:56   of these associations that are here in the field, is that they promote war, because these flags
03:01   unfortunately aren’t flags of neutrality: these are flags of the Free Army. Ask
03:05   people what they think about this flag. Ask them what this makes them think about.
03:09   Here it makes them think about death; because those are people who bombed us here every day.

3 thoughts on “The Not-So-White Helmets of Aleppo

  1. there is a video in youtube about an indepependent journalist who criticizes msm and
    white helmets. I think that you have ever mentioned her. I am not sure

    On the other hand, I´ve seen an independent documentary about the beginning of syria war and it was very clear that the population did not support Assad in that video.

    Att, Alerj

  2. On the whole, the coverage of the current Syrian war in the mainstream Western media is as truthful and objective as the coverage of the Vietnam war by Pravda.

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