Russia Says London Should Clarify Whether White Helmets Founder Had Links To Al-Qaeda

Russia is urging the UK to clarify whether the founder of the so called civil defense group ‘White Helmets’ had any affiliation to al-Qaeda.

Russia’s question comes in the aftermath of a statement by the UK Foreign Office’s Minister for the Middle East, Andrew Murrison, who claimed that the White Helmets was subjected to a massive disinformation campaign by Syria and Russia.

At a press briefing in Moscow on Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “Let us take a look at who created this structure … It is known for a fact that one of the White Helmets’ founders was James Le Mesurier. He is a former UK intelligence officer, specifically of MI6 [foreign intelligence service]”

Press TV reports: This coincidence is unlikely to be a random one, she noted.

“This man has been spotted in many conflicts worldwide, including in the Balkans and the Middle East … Moreover, a number of researchers point to the links of this former spy to terrorist organisations back when he worked in Kosovo. There is data suggesting that there were al-Qaeda members among his team there,” Zakharova added.

Last week, Zakharova said White Helmets were coordinating their activities with terrorists, seeking to stage new chemical weapons incidents in Syria.

“Their goal clearly is to undermine the political process,” she said at the time, citing data that the Syrian government provides to the United Nations on a regular basis.

On September 18, Director of the Fund for Research of Problems of Democracy Maxim Grigoryev said the White Helmets had deliberately executed women and children for the purpose of disseminating false information about the situation in Syria.

“White Helmets, who style themselves as a non-governmental organization, systematically release vast amounts of false information about Syria,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted Grigoryev as saying in Paris then.

He added, “Thorough verification of all information allowed us to completely refute false information about chemical attacks, of which those disinformers regularly accuse the Syrian authorities.”

The White Helmets group is known for its coordination with terror outfits in Syria to carry out staged chemical attacks aimed at falsely incriminating Syrian government forces and inventing pretexts for possible acts of aggression on army troops by a US-led military coalition that has been present in Syria since roughly 2014.

The group has been involved in such attacks before.