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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




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