Syrian terrorist organisations, backed by the controversial "White Helmets", have carried out provocations several times in the past, staging chemical weapons attacks to blame them on the Syrian government.
Despite the monitored destruction of chemical weapons, Western governments again accused Damascus of using them in Duma, near the Syrian capital Damascus, on 7 April 2018. This attack was reported by the White Helmets, who released videos showing them allegedly treating survivors of the alleged attack. Although Damascus denied the act, the US, UK and France launched airstrikes against Syrian government targets, claiming that their actions were in retaliation for the alleged chemical attack.
Russian chemical and military experts later located people who witnessed the White Helmets' actions and who stated that there was no chemical attack and that members of the "humanitarian" force simply picked them up off the street, doused them with water and injected them with unknown drugs under the pretext of treating them for contact with chemical weapons. Despite their testimonies, the OPCW has not officially recognised the incident in Duma as a false flag attack.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the White Helmets implicitly denying the responsibility of the Assad regime for chemical attacks perpetrated during the Syrian civil war. No evidence given to support the allegation.
White Helmets activists have documented the use of chemical weapons in Syria, later confirmed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Thus, the OPCW found reasonable grounds to believe that chlorine was used as a weapon in the Douma district of Eastern Ghouta, Syria in April 2018. Because of these awareness-raising activities, the White Helmets have become the target of a prolific and aggressive Russian disinformation campaign seeking to delegitimise their humanitarian efforts and paint them as proxies of Western intelligence to undermine the Assad regime.