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US-Supported Syrian White Helmets Involved with War Crimes Committed by Rebel Groups

IMAGE: Netflix

By William Craddick and Cassandra Hasenstein | 19 January 2017

DISOBEDIENT MEDIA — The Syrian White Helmets, or Syria Civil Defense Force are lauded by mainstream news sources for their humanitarian work during the Syrian Civil War. But research by Disobedient Media reveals that the White Helmets are an organization supported by the United States for the purpose of regime change in Syria. We have also directly tied this group to varying levels of involvement with war crimes committed by rebel groups in Syria as well as uncovered evidence of their potential involvement in an effort to intentionally use millions of residents in the besieged city of Aleppo as bargaining chips with the Syrian government.

I. The White Helmets are Funded by the United States

The White Helmets are described by media sources such as Time as being “ordinary Syrians” who simply wanted to band together and help mitigate the damage caused by Assad’s Syrian government forces.

This could not be further from the truth. The Syrian White Helmets are an organization funded by the United States with the intention of using the group as part of America’s wider objective of forcing regime change in Syria.

The Syrian Civil Defense Force is funded in part by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Included here are two links showing contracts awarded by USAID to Chemonics International Inc. (DBA Chemonics). The first award was in the sum of $111.2 million and has a Period of Performance (POP) from January 2013 to June 2017. It states that the purpose of the award will be to use the funds for managing a “quick-response mechanism supporting activities that pursue a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria.” The second was in the sum of $57.4 million and has a POP from August 2015 to August 2020. This award was designated to be used in the “Syria Regional Program II” which is a part of the Support Which Implements Fast Transitions IV (SWIFT IV) program.

This funding was used, if not entirely, then in part to finance the White Helmets. The Syrian Civil Defense Force website lists Chemonics as its primary supporter alongside NGO Mayday Rescue, who operate out of offices in Turkey, Jordan and Dubai. […]

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