Disinfo: White Helmets staged faked chemical attacks to justify Western intervention in Syria


The White Helmets have been repeatedly accused of staging fake attacks in the conflict in Syria in a bid to prompt a Western-backed military intervention in the war-torn country.


The claim advances recurring pro-Kremlin narratives painting the White Helmets as a Western-backed terrorist proxy and, implicitly, denying the responsibility of the Assad regime for chemical attacks perpetrated during the Syrian civil war.

The "repeated accusations" linking the White Helmets to chemical attacks feature heavily in pro-Kremlin coverage of the Syrian conflict and are never accompanied by evidence. The organization has been credited with saving thousands of lives and documenting the use of chemical weapons in Syria, later confirmed by the OPCW. Due to this, the White Helmets have been the subject of a sustained smear campaign aimed at delegitimizing its activities.

For more information about the importance of the White Helmets in pro-Kremlin disinformation regarding the Syrian war, see here, here, and here.


  • Reported in: Issue 173
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/11/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Syria
  • Keywords: White Helmets, West, Chemical weapons/attack, Syrian War, Terrorism


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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