The so-called Syrian Civil Defense group, known as the "White Helmets", has been publically criticized in the media recently for its 'mannequin challenge' performance in the Syria war zone.
"The White Helmets" sparked online anger after the Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office (RFS) posted a video of them faking saving someone while doing the so-called "mannequin challenge," the viral video trend in which people are videoed while frozen in motion.
The media was quick to spot that the footage was clearly staged, which prompted the RFS to admit that the group's staged "contribution" to the international mannequin challenge frenzy intended "to raise international awareness about the Syrian revolution in general, and the members of the Civil Defense, highlighting their role and sacrifices in protecting and saving the lives of civilians in Syria."
Commenting on the group's activities in Syria, mostly on the territories controlled by the jihadists, and its repeated attempts to produce fake information, Turkish political analyst and expert in the Middle East Hasan Sivri told Sputnik Turkiye that the group has an entirely different motive.
It is being used by the Western mainstream media as a tool of anti-Russian propaganda, as the Free Syrian Army project used to be until it outlived its usefulness.
"Similar to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) which has been used for quite a long time as a cover for the activities of various radical groups. Now when the FSA project has almost outlived itself, its place has been taken by "The White Helmets" which are being called the "civil defense," he said.
The expert also noted that the activists of the group have one way or another taken part in various acts of intimidation in Syria, such as executions and mass murders.
The Syrian pro-government mass media has often published photos and videos proving the ties between the "White Helmets" and jihadist terrorist organizations like "Al-Nusra Front", among others.
One of the most vivid examples, he said, is photos from the Syrian northwestern city of Idlib, when it was captured by the jihadists. They pictured the representatives of the so-called civil defense group walking along the city waving Al-Nusra banners.
"There are reports that France and the UK are transferring considerable sums of money into the accounts of the organization however we do not see that this money is being used for any humanitarian aid to the Syrian people," Sivri noted.
However it is being used, among others, to finance different armed groups, such as Al-Nusra Front, which ensure the continuation of the war and protract the peaceful settlement of the crisis, he stated.