DISINFO: White Helmets are involved in organ trafficking in Syria
  • Outlet: RT English (archived)*
  • Date of publication: February 20, 2019
  • Outlet language(s): English
  • Reported in: Issue 138
  • Countries / regions discussed: Syria, Russia
Douma White Helmets Chemical weapons/attack UN Conspiracy theory

DISINFO: White Helmets are involved in organ trafficking in Syria


The White Helmets volunteer group is running a cross-border organ trafficking operation in Syria, according to a report presented during a UN Security Council Panel of Experts in December 2018. The report provides overwhelming evidence of the abuse perpetrated against Syrian civilians living under the occupation of the White Helmets. The UK and other countries that are financing the White Helmets are ignoring this evidence.


The news item presents an unverified report to advance the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about crimes and hoaxes perpetrated by the White Helmets. The report in question was presented by Maksim Grigoryev, a member of Russia's Civil Chamber, and bases its claims on a "fact-checking" methodology consisting solely of purported witness testimony and unverifiable hearsay. The presenter himself pointed out that Grigoryev's findings are merely "evidence heard" at this point, as the UN has yet to assess their veracity and take an official stance on them. Russian officials and media outlets have previously used dubious witness accounts to support the Kremlin's narratives about Syria. An interview with an 11-year-old Syrian boy was filmed at a Russian army base and broadcast on the state-owned Rossiya-24 channel as proof that the Douma chemical attack had never occurred. A similar tactic was used at an OPCW hearing in The Hague, where the Russian delegation presented a group of Syrian nationals as supposed witnesses to the fact that the chemical attack never took place.


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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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