Proof of 'staged' Syria chemical attack is from film

Proof of 'staged' Syria chemical attack is from film
Circulated images attempting to prove that a Syrian chemical attack was 'staged' are in fact from a Syrian film set.
2 min read
17 April, 2018
A screen from the trailer of "Revolution Man," a Syrian film [YouTube]
Photographs which claim to show the White Helmets staging a chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta is actually footage from a Syrian film set, according to AFP's fact-check blog Factuel.

The White Helmets, a humanitarian organisation made up of some 3,000 volunteers, has regularly been the target of disinformation campaigns by the Syrian regime and conspiracy theorists. 

The photos - which show actors covered in dust - were presented by Syrian regime supporters as proof that the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma on April 7 was a fake.

But the photos come from the set of a Syrian film called "Revolution Man", supported by the Syrian culture ministry, and were published in February on a Facebook page devoted to the movie.

The film tells the story of a journalist in search of fame "who illegally enters Syria to take pictures and videos of the war". After failing to achieve his goal, he "fabricates a chemical attack to give his photos a global impact", according to the state-run SANA news agency.

Images from "Revolution Man" were also presented on the the public Russia 1 channel as proof the April 7 chemical attack was fake. Russian officials have previously called reports "fake news" and "provocations". Moscow has also said it has "irrefutable evidence" the chemical attack was "staged" with the help of the UK.

Inspectors from the International Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) entered Douma on Tuesday to begin a field investigation into the alleged gas attack. However, Western powers and experts have warned key evidence had likely already been removed or tampered with.

The Syrian regime has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons in Syria's now-seven-year-long war. But a recent report by Human Rights Watch said the regime was responsible for the majority of 85 documented chemical weapons attacks between 2013 and 2018. 

The White Helmets has often conducted daring rescues of people trapped in the rubble of bomb sites and their videos have frequently gone viral online. The group has been credited with saving thousands of civilian lives.

On Saturday, the US, along with Britain and France, launched more than 100 missiles at three suspected chemical weapons facilities in Homs, Syria. 

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab