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Deeper Look at White Helmets: Syrian 'Civil Defense' NGO or Terrorists' PR Arm?

The Trump administration's reported halt to the flow of aid funding to the White Helmets, an NGO characterized in the West as a rescue organization and reviled in Damascus as 'al-Qaeda's civil defense', has prompted a debate about the organization's future, Sputnik investigates.

White Helmets' head Raed Saleh has confirmed that State Department cut funding to his organization, previously amounting to a third of the group's total budget, has stopped in recent weeks. The frozen funding is part of a larger $200 million aid package frozen in March and remains "under review," according to the State Department.

Skripal Poison Story Just Another Episode in West's Propaganda Campaign to Corral Russia

By Finian Cunningham

There are many reasons for doubting the official British position blaming Russia for the Sergei Skripal poisoning. This week's 'diplomacy dramatics' of mass Russian expulsions are just too contrived to be taken seriously.

Two factors raising doubt stand out in particular: the unseemly, impossible rush to judgment and carnival of reaction; and, secondly, the immediate, concerted follow-up demand being made on Russia to "change its behavior."

The cause-and-effect sequence here is just too neat to be left to random events. Within days of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia having apparently been poisoned in a public space in the English city of Salisbury on March 4, senior British government officials were accusing Russia of attempted assassination.

Saudi Access to Nuclear Material Should Be ‘Strictly Limited’: US State Senator

TEHRAN– Richard Black, a Republican member of the Virginia State Senate, described Saudi Arabia as a regime with “inherently violent philosophy and history”, saying he is distrustful of a nuclear Saudi Arabia and that Riyadh's access to nuclear material should be “strictly limited”.

“I distrust Saudi Arabia with nuclear facilities. Considering their vast oil resources, what is the real purpose of acquiring nuclear power plants? A nation with Saudi Arabia’s inherently violent philosophy and history should not have nuclear material at all. Saudis are the source of almost every act of global terrorism today. They paid and trained terrorists to invade Syria and other sovereign nations. They fund radical madrassas that teach young men to devote their lives to raping, murdering and enslaving others,” Sen. Black told the Tasnim news agency.

 He added, “…I would prefer if their access to nuclear material were strictly limited.”

Fake News Alert: Media Stirred Over White Helmets' 'New' Horror Movie

Pictures showing the White Helmets' filmmaking studio in Syria's Eastern Ghouta have appeared on social media, prompting numerous news agencies to assume that the group is producing another "documentary" movie about alleged "atrocities" of the Syrian government.

According to Sputnik, Syrian activist Penelope Stafyla posted the footage to her Facebook profile to show the "media industry" and the "Hollywood production" of the White Helmets; the images featured fake human limbs, theatrical grease-paint, a plastic bottle with some substance that looked like blood, etc. Stafyla suggested that the group was shooting another film to demonize the Syrian government and accuse it of using chemical weapons against civilians.

Sochi Paves Solid Way for Syrian Peaceful Settlement, Now Geneva's Turn

SOCHI- The National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, a pinnacle event of the Russian diplomacy on Syria, has agreed to set up the Constitutional Commission out of the Syrians themselves and to give it in hands of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, to dispel any doubts that the forum was meant to disrespect UN Security Council.

The main objective of the Congress, which has been prepared by the Russian defense and foreign ministries over the last months and managed to bring together some 1,500 Syrians in the Black Sea resort city, was to launch the process of a constitutional review. This, obviously, gave de Mistura many worries, as constitution and elections have been his major focus during the last rounds of Geneva intra-Syrian talks, which never succeeded.

US Chemical Blame-Game: Well-Timed PR Stunt or Trick to Justify Military Presence in Syria?

By boldly blaming Russia for all the chemical weaponry-related incidents in Syria, the US may be seeking to ramp up tensions and jeopardize the peace process in the country, while diverting attention from its own destructive role.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has named Russia ultimately responsible for each and every chemical attack in Syria. The bewildering statement came on the heels of unconfirmed reports of a new incident allegedly involving chlorine in East Ghouta, and perfectly fits Washington’s narrative of the Syrian events, geopolitical experts and analysts told RT.

Sputnik: Syrian Students Didn't Let War Interrupt Quest for Knowledge

Sputnik Arabic has obtained an exclusive first-hand look into a Syrian scientific Olympiad for schoolchildren, held in spite of the tremendous problems facing their country in its long and painful war against terrorism.

The agency reported that over the weekend, Syria successfully completed a nation-wide Science Olympiad for the 2017-2018 school year. Competition was intense, with over 54,000 students participating. Its 50 medal winners will now go on to represent their country at international educational Olympiads over the summer.

Imad al-Azab, the educator heading the National Commission for the Syrian Science Olympiad, told Sputnik Arabic that the event has made great strides over the years. When the idea of a physics-focused Olympiad was first proposed in 2006, only 76 pupils participated, he recalled.