With over 200,000 views on Facebook the video has left many bewildered as to its authenticity. Two men wearing the logo of the White Helmets, a western-funded civil defense network in Syria, are filmed in a frozen pose along with the man, whose legs are covered by debris.
Similar to the popular online craze in which participants remain still throughout the video, the camera spins around the scene with the three men featured not moving. Unlike the viral trend, however, the men then suddenly break into movement as the man is removed from the rubble.
The video was first posted online by the Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office (RFS), an anti-Assad media outlet. #MannequinChallenge was in the video’s title along with “edge of death.”
The audio track used in the first 24 seconds of the video differs from the natural sounds heard after that point with multiple voices and sirens audible. It is not clear how the audio has been edited.
The RFS has not revealed the location where the video was filmed, nor the date it was recorded.
Comments on Twitter claimed the video as proof that the White Helmets are “pure theatre,” with one user saying “don’t know if they deserve the Nobel prize or an oscar.”
Gotta say, seems pretty dumb of the White Helmets to do the mannequin challenge, because you get responses like this https://t.co/hW2AYiqeag
— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) November 21, 2016
— Zamzamil M. Nasir (@Zamzamil_) November 22, 2016
— Walid (@walid970721) November 21, 2016
— TC (@tcburnett) November 21, 2016
What the actual fu$k was that https://t.co/oPHTxKxig1
— Bassem (@BBassem7) November 21, 2016
The video was not shared on the White Helmets’ social media pages and has since been removed from RFS social media.
Seems RFS media office figured out how bad this looks. They pulled their tweet & deleted the video from YouTube. https://t.co/qIy8vZ12bl
— Lina Arabi (@LinaArabii) November 21, 2016
Controversy has surrounded the organization which independent researcher and journalist Vanessa Beeley told RT were “a fraudulent shadow-state construct created by NATO to simply propagate the propaganda that will demonize Assad’s government and also demonize Russian legal intervention in Syria.”
The organization, which claims to be “non-governmental” and “neutral,” admitted to RT that their funding comes from several western states including the US, UK and Germany.
RT contacted RFS for comment on the video but no response has yet been received.
Syrian White Helmets a ‘terrorist support group & Western propaganda tool’
The propaganda from the rebel-held eastern Aleppo is produced by a number of organizations and individuals who are sponsored by the West, with the White Helmets being the largest among them, Beeley told RT. But the White Helmets are not the heroes that the mainstream media is trying to make of them.
“This organization is a fraudulent shadow-state construct created by NATO to simply propagate the propaganda that will demonize Assad’s government and also demonize Russian legal intervention in Syria,” said the journalist, who recently returned from Syria.
“From all the information that we’ve received they are acting as terrorist support group,” she added, “in the sense of bringing equipment, arms, even funding, into Syria.”
“They claim to be an impartial, neutral NGO. They are, in fact, multi-million funded by the US, the UK Foreign Office, by Japan, Denmark, Germany, Holland and France,” added Beeley. In his interview with RT last week, the chief liaison officer of the White Helmets Abdulrahman Al Mawwas personally confirmed that the group was sponsored by the Western governments.
“They’re not trained in Syria,” she added. “They’re trained in Gaziantep in Turkey; and then they’re implanted into areas like east Aleppo, areas that are under heavy conflict.”
An emergency worker with the legitimate Syrian Civil Defense told Beeley that the White Helmets “grew out of the militant factions that invaded Aleppo in 2012.”
“I spoke to the real Syrian Civil Defense, inside West Aleppo, that has been in existence since 1953. It’s the only Syria civil defense organization, which is registered with ICDO – International Civil Defense Organization – which has affiliations with the UN, WHO, Red Crescent and Red Cross. They told us that in 2012, when various militant factions infiltrated East Aleppo, they drove out the real Syria Civil Defense crew – they massacred many, they kidnapped others, they stole equipment, including all of the ambulances and three to five fire engines.”
The White Helmets do no humanitarian work, Beeley’s Syrian source said. “They’re very poorly trained in paramedic work,” Beeley, stressed. “He claimed that they drive around with guns in the back of their car, like every other terrorist there. They carry out and facilitate criminal activities in Eastern Aleppo.”
The White Helmets has been produced as a construct to “eradicate the Syrian state institutions,” Beeley reiterated.
“In other words it’s fraudulently masquerading as the Syria Civil Defense, because there’s an existing Syria Civil Defense, that is operating in both terrorist- and government-held areas, rescuing people from every sort of attack that’s going on inside Syria,” she explained. “This organization is fraudulent shadow state construct, created by NATO to simply propagate the propaganda that will demonize Assad’s government and also demonize Russian legal intervention in Syria.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.