Zakharova: White Helmets in Syria Closely Linked to Terrorists

SAMARA- Russia has information that the members of the White Helmets NGO in Syria have close ties with terrorists, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Wednesday.

"We know, we are not just confident, but we know, we have information that the members of the White Helmets have close ties with terrorist groups in Syria, namely Jabhat al-Nusra. This is confirmed by the reports of independent journalists, who visit Syria, and this concerns both Russian and Western [journalists]," Zakharova said, according to Itar Tass.

 But unfortunately, this information is not disseminated in the West on a large scale as it just does not fit the line and the so-called concept of "regime change",  the diplomat said.

The White Helmets have made numerous claims that the aviation of Syria’s government forces delivers strikes against areas where civilians live. This NGO was among those which disseminated false reports on the use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Douma on April 7.

The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed this report as a bogus story, and the Defense Ministry said the White Helmets was not a reliable source of information as it was known for spreading fabricated news. Officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria visited Douma but did not find any traces of chemical weapons.

Illegal presence of foreign troops in Syria hinders political settlement

Zakharova went on to say that the illegal presence of foreign troops on the Syrian territories hinders reaching a political settlement to the crisis and serves the interests of terrorists who are trying to spread chaos in the country.

According to SANA, She said that normal life returned to most of the Syrian areas as the Syrian government gives special intention to the areas cleared from terrorist organizations in Eastern Ghouta and the northern countryside of Homs in order to reconstruct what has been destroyed by the terrorists.

The spokeswoman stressed Russian efforts for reaching a political settlement to the crisis in Syria in cooperation with the Syrian government and its partners in Astana meetings, others concerned parties, UN, and “opposition”.

Russian Foreign Ministry comments on US exit from US Human Rights Council

The Russian diplomat also said that Washington has long been pursuing double standards and its withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council once again confirms this, Itar Tass said.

"Our US counterparts have shown boorish cynicism - they are reluctant to admit that they have human rights issues themselves but at the same time, they continue attempts to reshape the council to make it serve their needs, stressing that there was no place for persistent violators of human rights in the council," Zakharova pointed out.

"Attempts to forcibly impose this rather specific understanding of human rights on other countries are, in themselves, a blatant violation of universal human values and civilized rules of conduct at the international stage," the Russian diplomat added.

The United States’ decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council was erroneous, and no one gloats over the matter, she said.

"No one gloats over the United States’ withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council. We believe that was a mistake, [just like] the US approach to use its powerful resources solely to promote its own interests, although they can be used in the best interests," she said.

The diplomat noted that Washington’s decision had dealt a powerful blow to its reputation in terms of protecting human rights.

"The US has once again dealt a powerful blow to its own human rights protection reputation showing disregard for both the Human Rights Council and the UN and the bodies it includes in general," she said.