Alwaght- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the so-called White Helmets are terrorists posing as volunteer rescue personnel, and will be killed if they don’t surrender and lay down their arms.
“The fate of White Helmets will be the same as any other terrorist. They have two choices: to lay down their arms and use the amnesty we have offered over the last four or five years, or be killed like the other terrorists,” Assad told Russian journalists.
The Syrian president maintained there is no such legitimate organization as White Helmets.
“It’s a mask, a mask for Al-Nusra (an Al-Qaeda affiliate),” he said. “You have videos and photos of this group’s members holding swords and celebrating the death of Syrian soldiers.”
“What more evidence do you need that they are not a humanitarian organization, but a mask used by Al-Qaeda?” Assad said.
The self-styled rescue organization operates only in areas of Syria under control of anti-government militants and terrorists, who have received backing from the US, UK and some of Syria’s neighbors since the conflict began in 2011. They have been key witnesses to claims of Syrian atrocities, including allegations of chemical weapons use, that have been used as pretext for attempted intervention by Western powers.
Last week, the Israeli regime evacuated a number of “White Helmets” from the terrorist-held territory in Daraa ahead of the advancing Syrian forces. The Israeli military said the evacuation was undertaken at the request of the US, Canada and some European countries.
After eliminating the rebel and ISIS pockets in Daraa, the Syrian army is setting its sights on the rebel stronghold of Idlib, Assad told reporters.
“Our goal now is Idlib, but not only Idlib,” he said. “There are territories in the east of Syria controlled by various groups. A little bit is held by IS, and some by the Al-Nusra Front and other militant formations.”