Disinfo: The White Helmets are a British intelligence organisation


[Local sources in the Idlib countryside confirmed, quoting elements from] the British Intelligence “White Helmets” Organisation, [that seven victims of the “Jabhat al-Nusra” organization, the arm of al-Qaeda in the Levant, had been transferred to the “Jisr al-Shughour” hospital.]



See disinformation message in bold above. An example of the ongoing disinformation campaign targeting the White Helmets humanitarian organisation. Pro-Kremlin media routinely seek to delegitimise the White Helmets as being the creation of  Western intelligence services. No evidence is given to support this unfounded conspiracy theory.

The White Helmets movement originated in Syria in 2012. The organisation, which is made up of 3,400 volunteers including teachers, engineers, tailors and firefighters, states that it has no affiliation to any political or military actor and is committed to rendering services to anyone in need. Volunteers save people from the rubble after bombings, despite the danger of dying themselves as a result of repeated air strikes.

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, OPCW said it 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.

Read previous disinformation claims alleging that that evidence confirms chemical attacks in Syria were falsified by the White Helmets, and that the White Helmets performs criminal activities and is an arm of British and American intelligence.


  • Reported in: Issue 196
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: UK, Syria
  • Keywords: Conspiracy theory, White Helmets, Syrian War


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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