U.S. Embassy London
The Assad Regime/Russia – Disinformation
September 12, 2018
The Assad regime and Russia continue to falsely accuse the White Helmets through a massive disinformation campaign, leaving its volunteers at significant risk. The White Helmets are a humanitarian organization that has saved thousands of lives and continues to save civilian lives after bombardments by Russian and regime military forces. The United States and the international community continue to support their heroic work.
It remains our firm stance that if the Assad regime chooses to again use chemical weapons, to include chlorine as a weapon, the United States and its Allies will respond swiftly and appropriately. The United States will continue to work tirelessly with its Allies to find a lasting diplomatic solution to resolve the hostilities in Syria under the auspices of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.
Russia’s disinformation campaign accusing the US, UK, and humanitarian organizations, such as the White Helmets, of planning and executing chemical weapons attacks in order to justify retaliation in Syria is offensive, outrageous, and categorically false.
The international community must recognize this disinformation campaign for what it is: an effort to distract from, and potentially justify, military action against civilian populations in Idlib.
Recent Russian claims regarding a white phosphorus attack by US forces in Deir ez Zour is just another example of blatant disinformation and must be rejected. As the Department of Defense pointed out yesterday, Russia’s claims have zero factual basis. None of the military units in the area are equipped with white phosphorous munitions of any kind.
Russia and the Assad regime lack all credibility in their denials regarding previous chemical weapons use by the regime and should not be believed now. The UN-OPCW’s Joint Investigative Mechanism, an independent and impartial organization Russia refused to renew using veto after veto in the Security Council, found ONLY the regime and ISIS responsible for multiple attacks in Syria.
Russia has repeatedly shielded the Assad regime from being held accountable for its use of chemical weapons and the injuring and killing of thousands of its citizens. Russia cannot expect to be regarded as a global actor worthy of respect or credibility if it continues to block justice, disseminate brazen propaganda and baseless accusations, and perpetuate the proliferation of these deadly weapons.