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EXCLUSIVE: ‘President’ Raed Saleh’s Terrorist Connections within White Helmet Leadership

Vanessa-BeeleyVanessa Beeley
21st Century Wire

“Every single one of us has taken an oath to save lives regardless of political, sectarian or religious affiliation! We are neutral, impartial and humanitarian.” ~ Raed Saleh

Noble words from Saleh, leader of the White Helmets, as he accepted the prestigious Right Livelihood Award on behalf of his NATO allied and Gulf state multi-million-dollar funded ‘humanitarian’ NGO.

See my the open letter to offcials at the Right Livelihood organisation here: White Helmets Campaign for War NOT Peace – Retract RLA & Nobel Peace Prize Nominations

1-raed-saleh-copyRaed Saleh (photo, right) rose to media glory through his leadership of a group of proclaimed “saviours of all humanity.” Since its formation in late 2013, the White Helmets claim to by Syria’s only viable ‘civil defense’ first responders, selflessly saving some 72,000 lives in only three years – regardless of the victim’s ethnicity, religious convictions or political aspirations. So the promotional literature goes.

A former self-described electronic salesman from Jisr Al Shugour in Syria, ‘President’ Raed Saleh has become the public face of the White Helmets.  He has spoken on a variety of media, think tank and NGO platforms, always conveying the image of the White Helmets as a ‘grass-roots’ and selfless, first responser unit ready to answer the call of humanity in war torn Syria. The White Helmet mantra, “neutral-impartial-humanitarian,” has been an integral part of their marketing success in persuading the public of their legitimacy as a bona fide humanitarian organisation – despite some very clear evidence to the contrary.

SEE ALSO: Who are the Syria White Helmets?

Over the past year, 21st Century Wire has exhaustively demonstrated the clear links between the White Helmets and the various terrorist groups operating inside Syria, including Al Nusra Front (aka Al Qaeda in Syria) and ISIS.  We have also shown that the White Helmets are a part of a primarily British-led shadow state building project inside Syria.  The White Helmets were designed to mimic the REAL Syria Civil Defence, established in 1953 and the only real Civil Defence inside Syria officially recognised by the ICDO (International Civil Defence Organisation), based in Geneva.

For further information on the White Helmet fraudulent supplanting of the Real Syria Civil Defence and theft of their identity, please read: The REAL Syria Civil Defence Expose NATO’s White Helmets as Imposters

CLOSE: Raed Saleh photographed with his close associate Mustafa al-Haj Yussef, leader of White Helmet Centre in terrorist-held Idlib province (Photo: al-Haj Yussef Facebook page)


A close partner of Raed Saleh is Mustafa al-Haj Yussefleader of the White Helmets centre in the Al Nusra-occupied city of Khan Shaykhun, Idlib. The photo, above, clearly demonstrates the close relationship that Saleh shares with his friend and colleague Yussef, and apparently with the armed militant seen standing behind the two White Helmet leaders.

“Khan Shaykhun – home to approximately 50.000 residents – was controlled by government troops until the summer of 2014 when the al-Nusra Front launched a major offensive in southern Idlib and eventually seized the town.” ~ Al Masdar News

On the 1st December 2016, South Front reported Syrian Arab Air Force strikes on terrorist positions in Khan Shaykhun:

“At the same time, Syrian fighter jets destroyed a large number of vehicles of terrorists, as well as killed and wounded a number of militants in the villages and towns of al-Taman’a, Kafr Ain, Khan Sheikhoun, Abdin, Kfromeh, and Kafr Sajna, located in the southern part of Idlib.”

According to Yussef’s Facebook page (see screenshot below), he joined the White Helmets in  2013, so has been with the group since the early days of their establishment by a British ex-military officer and private security consultant, James Le Mesurier.


Upon closer review however, Yussef’s Facebook page demonstrates a much darker side to western public relations facade of the affable ‘humanitarian principles’ that underpin the White Helmet Madison Ave marketing image.

Below is one example of PR campaign memes, this one featuring Yussef himself, used by the White Helmets to promote the group, but more importantly – to generate many millions of dollars in public donations to the organisation.

Al-Haj Yussef Facebook page profile picture

Now let’s look at how this White Helmet leader is actively promoting terrorism and indiscriminate violence against Syrian citizens.

On the 1st June 2014, Yussef called for the shelling of civilians during elections in Damascus.  He declares that this murderous act would be the “greatest declaration of revolution” .  

Here we have a supposedly “neutral, impartial, humanitarian” calling for direct violence against civilians exercising their right to elect the government of their choosing, in their own country.

atement calling for the shelling of civilians in Damascus during 2014 elections.

On the 30th June 2014, Yussef then posts a statement to his Facebook page which endorses the extremist ideology of Ibn Taymiyya, often cited as being the ideological founder of ISIS.

White Helmet leader Yussef is advocating for severe punishment to anyone who does not fast during Ramadan, and he does not rule out execution.

Yussef, a supposed neutral humanitarian is calling for the extra judicial killing of civilians for not adhering to Islamic doctrines. It’s important to note that despite the White Helmets many extremist and terrorist connections, it has received well over $100 million in direct funding from the US State Department via USAID, the British Foreign Office and a cohort of EU member states.

Yussef endorsing severe punishment, even killing of civilians who do not fast during Ramadan (Source: Facebook)

On the 4th June 2014, Yussef also advocates unity between extremist factions including Al Nusra (aka Al Qaeda in Syria). The statement posted on social media also promotes the execution of the ‘Shabiha’ (a derogatory term employed by extremist factions inside Syria to describe those loyal to the Syrian state and government), SAA and looting of their properties.

Again, a supposed “neutral humanitarian” is calling for sectarian executions, reprisals and theft.

Yussef calling for a pact between extremist factions, including al Nusra Front (Source: Facebook)

On August 6th 2016, Yussef posted images of Ahrar Al Sham fighters in East Aleppo, describing them as “liberating Aleppo.” So, Yussef supports a militant group responsible for many of the most brutal ethnic cleansing campaigns in Syria, as liberators of the Syrian people.  The US has also resisted labelling this group a “terrorist” organisation, despite their involvement in some of the worst atrocities committed against minorities in Syria, including the Al Zaraa massacre in May 2016.

Mustafa Al Haj Yussef Facebook post. 

On the 11th August 2016, Yussef posted an image of a Nusra Front [Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria] fighter along with a eulogy praising this terrorist’s battle record in East Aleppo and once again describing the efforts by an internationally designated terrorist group to “liberate” Aleppo.

Screenshot from Yussef Facebook post.

Humanitarian or Executioner?

Mustafa al-Haj Yussef is a leader of a White Helmet centre in Khan Shaykhun, Idlib. Khan Shaykhun is in an area of Idlib overrun and dominated by al Nusra Front. Yussef is not a simple operative. Yussef clearly has a close relationship with White Helmet “president” Raed Saleh who is currently on a speaking tour of Canada extolling the virtues of the White Helmets to audiences as depicted in the multi-million dollar Netflix documentary that showcases their grandiose exploits inside Syria.

See various examples of White Helmet extremism on camera here:

Yussef has called for the shelling of civilians, the execution of anyone not fasting during Ramadan, the murder of anyone considered a Shabiha, the killing of the SAA and the looting of their property.

Yussef idolizes fighters in at least two extremist groups, renowned for the atrocities they have carried out against Syrian civilians. He clearly supports both Nusra Front, an internationally recognised terrorist group, and Ahrar Al Sham and describes their operations in East Aleppo as a campaign to “liberate” Aleppo with no regard for the 1.5 million civilians in West Aleppo,being targeted daily by these two groups & an estimated 22 other militant brigades,  or the civilians in East Aleppo being held hostage and used as human shields by these dominant groups.

Yussef subscribes to an extremist Wahhabi ideology and believes in coercing others to adhere to the same ideology. Yussef is far from being neutral, impartial or humanitarian. 

It appears Yussef has taken an oath to take lives, not save them, and his partner Raed Saleh seems unperturbed by his comrade’s extremist actions despite Saleh’s lofty claims of neutrality and humanitarianism on the global public stage.

If a member of the International Red Cross were found to be harbouring such iniquity, would the international community be so forgiving? Would American and British taxpayers be so willing to fund them to the tune of over $100 million?

The White Helmets have been showered with awards and endless rounds of funding. How much longer will the illusion of their humanitarianism be indulged?

The White Helmets align themselves very transparently with the extremist entities who are carrying out ethnic cleansing pogroms in all areas they occupy throughout Syria. They consistently and openly demonstrate the underlying sectarianism and militancy that drives their participation in the war being waged against Syria by the NATO and Gulf states, and wholly supported by Israel.

Infographic showing the various awards given to the White Helmets in 2016.


Raed Saleh was deported from the US in April 2016 and the US State Department cited possible “extremist connections” as the reason behind this decision. Another White Helmet leader, Mustafa al-Haj Yussef , exemplifies direct terrorist connections and if that is the case, why is the world allowing Raed Saleh to speak to them? Why is he not being investigated and indicted for violations of every convention governing the conduct of humanitarian first responders?

Why are Raed Saleh and the White Helmets clear connections to extremism and terrorism being ignored by western politicians and journalists?

When the dust eventually settles on the dirty war being waged against Syria, the White Helmets history will be viewed as one of the most damaging and primarily, UK/US created, funded & promoted, frauds of this conflict.

HELP SUPPORT Vanessa Beeley’s independent reporting from inside Syria. Go to The Wall Will Fall and donate.

READ MORE WHITE HELMETS NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire White Helmet Files


  • David

    No. “When the dust eventually settles in Syria” history will show you for the lying Assad/Putin apologist that you are. How incredible that with all the death and destruction going on in Syria, mostly inflicted by your heroes, you continue your unhealthy obsession with discrediting a rescue workers group! Ok they may have some dodgy connections (it’s a murky civil war, and these people are living under constant bombardment and threat of death), but how many times are you gonna write the same stuff over and over again…and again?…Why do they scare you so?
    Why do you never even mention the slaughter of the innocents, in East Aleppo,(and Idlib etc.) by Russian and Syrian regime war planes? Your writing is so transparently blatant propaganda: “ethnic cleansing pogroms”, “war being waged against Syria by NATO”, “wholly supported by Israel”(always a popular one!) “British-led shadow state building project inside Syria” HORSESHIT! And such lazy “journalism”!

    Your evidence (typical of you) that the “photo, above, CLEARLY demonstrates the CLOSE relationship that Saleh shares with his friend and colleague Yussef, and APPARENTLY with the armed militant seen standing behind the two White Helmet leaders.” is laughable! I THINK YOU MIGHT NEED MORE EVIDENCE THAN THAT! EVER POSED FOR A SELFIE? Either you are very naive, or you think your readers are very gullible…or both!

    • Susan O’neill

      Why are you even on this site? Could it be you are a person who has “interests” in support of the bought and paid for terrorist apologists?
      What reason or purpose did you even visit 21st Century Wire?
      You mock the findings of all evidence and facts that fly in the face of the propaganda yet you shout insults because your beloved terrorists have been exposed. The Aleppo civilians are saying everything to the contrary of what you claim to all and anyone who will hear them, sadly for the extremists, the voices of the victims are now being heard and the truth is being revealed. Assad was no saint, not many world leaders are, the Saudis, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Turkey and a few others of the Arab Spring could certainly show him the way home. Many agitators were dragging people out to join in a march that ended with their deaths at the hands of the well placed terrorists in their midst who were firing indiscriminately through the protesters at the police. So many of those who survived have given their account and know they were betrayed and treated as useful idiots and live bait for the intended massacre of the police.
      Would you happen to know about any of this? Were you one of the armed dissidents intending to hide behind the duped civilians? If not, then you should direct your account of the “truth” to those who lost family in the carnage of what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration.

      • David

        I come on here because I despise child murderers, and stooges like you who defend them. I am also angered by the false truths which are being promoted all over the internet by Putin, the gangster, kleptocrat, and war criminal, and his paid troll army.-False truths such as the propaganda in your pathetic Assad apologist, lying version of the Syrian civil war. You are the useful idiot for propagating this garbage. Amnesty International have published the TRUTH about Assad and Putin’s crimes:
        Of course Putin didn’t like that, so he closed their Moscow office down. That’s the kind of world you and your pseudo “alternative” media promote. You disgust me

        • Susan O’neill

          You disgust me more and a lot of “mainstream” media are disgusted with Amnesty International for their fake reports and bias, which is why they have a “credibility” problem.
          71.^ a b Peretz, Martin (26 August 2010). “Amnesty International Official Calls Israel A ‘Scum State'”. The New Republic. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
          57.^ “Suspend Saudi Arabia from UN Human Rights Council”. Amnesty International. 29 June 2016.
          58.^ “UN: Shameful pandering to Saudi Arabia over children killed in Yemen conflict”. Amnesty International. 7 June 2016.
          59.^ “Rights groups: Suspend Saudi Arabia from U.N. Human Rights Council over war crimes”. Salon. June 29, 2016.
          82.^ Gidon Shaviv (6 June 2012). “Amnesty’s credibility problem”. Y Net News. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
          94.^ a b c Chapman, John, “Amnesty boss gets secret £500,000 payout”, Daily Express, 19 February 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.

          • David

            Oh, “mainstream” media are saying it so it must be true! lol.
            I hope you accept Amnesty’s criticisms of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Don’t you? But you won’t accept their detailed meticulous report on Syria, critical of both sides?
            So you pick and chose. Can’t you see how much of a Putin puppet you have become?! -Denying the evidence and attacking respected neutral human rights groups!

            Supporting Putin’s corrupt and evil regime. -A country ruled
            by a gangster elite, supported by a sycophantic media, who seize territory, bomb children, hospitals, schools and aid convoys, and shoot passenger planes out of the sky with impunity, then DENY it and blame it all on a western conspiracy.
            On top of that they dope their athletes, are engaged in cyber crime, and even falsify facts about WW2! And you defend all this!

          • Susan O’neill

            David(or should that be Ussama Sulweini?) Get a grip and quit with the “neutral” rubbish because whether you accept it or not, too many of these so called neutrals are in fact biased and have been exposed for their misinformation and misrepresentation. You are Russophobic and as such will never be fair or impartial with regard Russia. Perhaps you are a Ukrainian or Pole or a neo nazi – whatever – keep on hating, your an adept.

          • David

            “many of these so called neutrals are in fact biased and have been exposed for their misinformation and misrepresentation.”- CORRECT-and lets start with Vannessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett.
            But when YOU attack Amnesty International you just prove you are afraid of the truth, and your “truth” doesn’t stand up to investigation and facts.
            I hate child killers, whatever their race.

        • Gatorr

          Netanyahoo troll. Your colonialist war against Syria is over.

        • Terry Ross

          “I come on here because I despise child murderers”
          No. You come as a troll to push your Zionist ideology. The US role in child murders across several continents over the last two decades has been damning. If your stated aim was truthful, you would be spending all your efforts on preventing future US intervention in sovereign countries and ceasing US deployments around the world in countries where they are not invited.

          • David

            I’ve spent my life campaigning against US interventions. But not because I just wanted to be anti-American for the sake of it. I hate all child murderers. You clearly only hate western and Israeli child murderers. If that’s not the case then I give you the opportunity to condemn Russia and Assad’s murders in Syria, and Russia’s in places such as Grozny-WILL YOU? I will have no problem condemning US murders in Iraq or anywhere else you want to mention. Do you have a problem?
            The world is changing. Russia has now overtaken the west as the greatest source of evil(along with ISIS).

            Btw what is the fascination on this site about “zionist ideology”? it seems anyone who questions anything on this site is immediately accused of “pushing” it. Am i a zionist when I campaign for the Palestinian cause?

    • Gerry Blevins

      They discredited themselves with their own lies right from their very own Twitter page.

    • Gerry Blevins

      April 8th, 2013 – http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nbcnews.com/51467934

      August 19th, 2015 – https://twitter.com/SyriaCivilDef/status/634141737884209153

      Apparently a carbombing became a barrel bombing but 2 years later. Would you like to see the execution videos.

    • Jasper

      A well worth watching interview discussing the MSN fake news reports concerning the freeing of Eastern Aleppo.. The Hill’s Brent Budowsky makes a #total_propaganda fool of himself https://www.facebook.com/RTnews/videos/10155004444449411/

  • David

    I challenge you to read this, instead of Beeley’s recycled hogwash:


    • paz_y_justicia

      I challenge you to demonstrate that the United States and it’s allies are not in Syria in violation of international law.

      • David

        I’m no US apologist! They MIGHT TRY to justify their VERY LIMITED involvement as self defence, since unlike Russia, their air strikes ONLY attack Isis. Russia violates international law there regularly with their deliberate bombing of innocent civilians.

        • paz_y_justicia

          Looks like the challenge didn’t go so well. That’s ok, it was an impossible task. Let’s try another one.

          I challenge you to demonstrate that the United States and it’s allies are not in violation of international law by arming and funding terrorists against the sovereign country of Syria.

          • David

            Looks like you can’t read. I’m not an American apologist and I don’t justify anything they THEY do. Assad violates international law by murdering his own people. Russia arms and assists them in this. I challenge you to demonstrate that Russia and the Assad regime are not in violation of international law with their deliberate mass murder of civilians. I also challenge you to condemn it.

          • paz_y_justicia

            So we both agree that the United States and it’s allies are both engaging a war of aggression and arming terrorists against a sovereign nation in violation of international law. Russia is in Syria legally, at the request of the legitimate government.

            After destroying four countries, with millions of lives lost, the United States is now supporting the very same group they used to justify their war on terror. Kind of ironic don’t you think?

            The parallels to WWII have become disturbing. The Nuremberg Tribunal came to the following conclusion:

            “To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

            I trust that you are not an apologist of Nazi Germany and can see the root of all the atrocities committed in Syria.

          • David

            So you won’t accept my challenge?! You can’t deny that Russia and Assad are in violation of international law?! And -most sickening- you won’t even condemn it!! That leaves you morally bankrupt and repugnant. So the irony here is that YOU should lecture anyone on international law. The Nuremberg Tribunal also concluded:
            Crimes against humanity:
            “namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds”
            Your point about Russia being in Syria legally, because they were asked in by Assad, is irrelevant in the face of their war crimes, but aren’t you aware that Saudi Arabia have the same excuse for their intervention in Yemen?

            Lastly- on your “west does worse rhetoric”. I know it is part of the new (make up your own) “truth” in pro-Russian pseudo “alternative” media, that the west is “engaging a war of aggression and arming terrorists” You Russian/Assad apologists seem to think that if you repeat the LIE often enough you can brainwash the rest of us into believing it! I don’t accept your perverse narrative.

            The west’s involvement has been pathetically limited which is why Putin and Assad are getting away with murder. There has been NO western support for ISIS. They have tried to help legitimate opposition(in the face of Assad’s brutality and use of chemical weapons against them) with arms, but they have mostly abandoned them. The only action of the coalition in Syria has been to bomb ISIS targets. Russia has mostly targeted the moderates, who have been fighting ISIS as well as Assad.

          • David

            In another perverse twist to your Putin/Assad narrative on legal or illegal intervention in Syria, It seems Lavrov is now COMPLAINING that the west has stopped bombing ISIS in Palmyra! Now even by that scumbag’s standards, that’s some hypocrisy!

          • Gatorr

            You look irritated about your jihadis losing ground in Syria. “Russians deliberately killing civilians” Yaeh thats what they are in Syria for: to kill civilians!!

          • Gatorr

            Al baghdadi was released from an american prison in irak and given 30m $ to fund ISIS. lately they have been given free pass by the “Coalition” to attack Palmyra. They are not being consistently targeted but used as a joker by the US agaisnt Syria. And the chemical weapons, oh please.

          • David

            You know if this wasn’t such a tragic situation I could be falling off my seat, splitting my sides laughing at your posts! You make David Ike sound almost sane! Your conspiracy theories are “entertaining” but really what substances are you on?! As for the chemical weapons- UN investigations have PROVEN 3 definite uses of chemical weapons by Assad on his people. You can easily check that when you dry out. Oh but I suppose you have another western conspiracy theory about the UN?

          • Gatorr

            Conspiracy, favourite word by the globalist elite and their puppet media. UN investigations haven’t proved anything, the three guys who affirmed that didn’t prove a thing. The only stockpile out of control was libya’s, Hillary knows abit about that. Tragic? Now you care about Syrians, dear zio? Oh please. But is nice to see how desperate you and your lying media are. You are losing the war in Syria and your prospect is to be confronted by Hizbullah in the future, which used to be a militia and now is a battle-hardened army due to your support of jihadists in Syria. Good luck dear zio, you’re gonna need it!

          • Terry Ross

            “You can’t deny that Russia and Assad are in violation of international law?”
            Yes I can. Both are operating under UNSC resolution 2253 and 2254. If you read the resolutions carefully , you would see that it is NATO states that make up the US coalition who are in breach of international law.

          • David

            Russia and Assad are DELIBERATELY bombing innocent children in homes, streets, markets, schools and hospitals, you brainwashed Russian apologist idiot!

          • David

            You also could use these same resolutions to deny that Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni Government are in violation of international law!
            But it’s irrelevant anyway is because they are all violating international law by deliberately targeting civilians.

          • Terry Ross

            The specific breaches come from UNSC resolution 2253 and its sanctions against states supporting terrorism , in particular Syrian Al-Qaeda (whatever name it chooses this month) and ISIS (again, whatever it chooses to call itself) In fact the name changes can be seen as a means of allowing their sponsors , like the US and Saudis, to evade UNSC 2253.

    • Susan O’neill

      Yassin Al Haj Saleh is a radicalised extremist communist/Marxist(when he can make his mind up which)who is and always has been a disaffected troublemaker inciting violence and revolt. What many socialists refer to as uncompromising hard left(when he can make up his mind which doctrine he follows when he isn’t denouncing those same doctrines). Why on earth would sane minds want to follow his fan club, when he keeps moving the goal posts. He’s less of a free thinker and more of a “way out there, far side of the moon” clueless ideologist. If he and his fan club is who you have been allowing to influence your thinking, then the challenge was a no brainer.

      • David

        Obviously you didn’t take the challenge and read the article. There are only 2 short quotes from Yassin Al Haj Saleh. So your hysterical attack on this highly respected intellectual and writer (who has suffered for his beliefs under Assad) is a pathetic deflection from the truth. You are clearly a brainwashed,or brain dead, member of the Assad fan club

        • Carol

          And I guess you think 9-11 was not an inside job too Hey David. Baaaaaaa

          • David


        • Terry Ross

          You seem to have far too much time on your hands.
          BTW: The faction of the Syrian Communist Party to which your “esteeemed gentleman” belonged had the goal of overthrow of the Syrian government and chose, unlike the more restricted Ba’ath faction, to operate outside the law to achieve this. This led to his imprisonment. Had he not been part of a faction which sought close ties with Muslim Brotherhood and radical Sunni islamists , then he would not have found himself in jail.

          So basically this “highly respected ” individual not only sought to bring down the state by illegal means but he formed alliances with Muslim Brotherhood to this end. He is just a common garden variety dissident who will use terrorism to achieve his goals. A very dangerous mix.

    • Gabriel Wainio-Théberge

      fam do you have any counter-evidence to the specific claims in this article about this one White Helmets leader (for instance I have no idea if the Arabic translations are accurate and would genuinely like some corroboration on them), or are you only capable of parsing any statement about this conflict as “support” for a “side”? absent any other possible truth-content, what does that even mean?

  • Jasper

    A well worth watching interview discussing the MSN fake news reports
    concerning the freeing of Eastern Aleppo.. The Hill’s Brent Budowsky
    makes a #total_propaganda fool of himself