Members of the organization White Helmets were engaged in the forced removal of human organs as well as theft and corruption in Syria, according to evidence presented at the United Nations by Foundation for the Study of Democracy Director Maxim Grigoriev on Thursday.
“People evacuated by the White Helmets often did not come back alive,” Grigoriev said quoting a witness who lives in an area where the White Helmets operated. “For example, a person receives a minor injury, is rescued, evacuated and then brought back with their stomach cut open and with their internal organs missing.”
Grigoriev noted that according to multiple witnesses, including members of the White Helmets, the organization was also involved in looting wounded individuals in Syria, especially women, as well as plundering stores and damaged buildings.
“Sometimes we came to help, entered a flat, and, if we found gold or jewelry, seized it,” Grigoriev quoted a White Helmets member in Douma. “In one flat, there was a woman who felt ill, we came to help her, found some gold and stole it.”
Members of the White Helmets in Saqba also reported about the extensive system of corruption and theft among sponsors in the organization. Referring to the information provided by a White Helmets member, Grigoriev said the leaders of the organization took for private gain parts of donations they received.
Moreover, the White Helmets constructed the fortifications for terrorists and illegal armed groups in Syria, the Foundation for the Study of Democracy revealed.
“There is overwhelming evidence which proves that the White Helmets centers were permanently engaged in building fortifications for battle positions for terrorist and illegal armed groups who had been supplying them with water and food and evacuating wounded terrorists from the front line,” Grigoriev reported on Thursday on the research completed by the Foundation in Syria.
Grigoriev said that a White Helmets member in Douma told him the group constructed earthen mounds, dug trenches, transport fighters, weapons and ammunition for the fighters.”
“For instance, we dug trenches in the towns of Mesraba and al-Shaifuniya and constructed an earthen mound,” Grigoriev quoted the White Helmets member as saying.
The report on the activities of the White Helmets was prepared using information provided by more than 100 Syrian eyewitnesses, including members of the organization, Syrian Civil Defence, former fighters from illegal groups and terrorist groups, and people living in the areas controlled by terrorists where White Helmets conducted their activities.
The White Helmets, a non-governmental organization that operates in parts of rebel-controlled Syria and Turkey, claims to be a group of volunteer rescue workers.
Both Damascus and Moscow have accused the White Helmets of staging several provocations involving chemical weapons to influence public opinion and justify foreign intervention in Syria.
In August, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Washington would continue to provide life-saving and needs-based humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Syrians and support for the White Helmets operating in Syria.