“First Responder” White Helmets Reemerge as Experts in Defusing Explosives in Syria’s Afrin

Defusing explosives and mines, as the White Helmets say they’ve done in Afrin, is normally performed by specialized military experts, not paramedic first-responders who have claimed – falsely – to have been trained by the Red Cross.

by Whitney Webb

DAMASCUS, SYRIA – After being banned by the Kurds in 2015, the White Helmets – the controversial “humanitarian” group that exclusively accompanies particular Western and Turkish-backed terrorist groups – have announced their return to the city of Afrin. The move follows the city’s takeover by the Turkish military and Turkish-backed rebels linked to terrorist groups, such as the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The group had originally been banned from Afrin by the Kurds due to their association with extremist groups like FSA and others.

That takeover, part of “Operation Olive Branch,” was launched by Turkey in response to the U.S.’ plan to create a 30,000-man “border force” consisting of recruits from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Turkey was outraged by the plan, as the SDF is largely Kurdish and has “substantial ties” to the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been engaged in armed conflicts with Turkey since 1984. Turkey has long considered the PKK and the YPG to be “terrorists.”