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Photos claiming to show 'staged' Syria chemical attack are from film

AFP  |  Paris 

Photographs which claim to show Syrian volunteer rescue workers, known as the White Helmets, staging a in Eastern Ghouta were actually taken from a set, according to Factuel, an AFP fact-checking blog.

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

The photos -- which show actors covered in dust, with bloody makeup and a clapper board -- were presented by supporters of as proof that the alleged chlorine and in the rebel-held town of on April 7 was fake.

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

The film's premiere was also reported by the official Syrian agency on March 9 -- a month before the alleged

According to SANA, the tells the story of a in search of fame "who illegally enters to take pictures and videos of the war".

After failing to achieve his goal, he "fabricates a to give his photos a global impact", the agency said.

The Bellingcat reported the pictures were also shared by the Russian public channel 1, which presented them as proof that the chemical attack was fake.

On April 7 the (SAMS) and the jointly said dozens of people died in a "poisonous chlorine gas attack" in

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

The US, Britain and launched missile strikes at the weekend in response to the

has said it has "proof" that "were used" by Assad's regime. The denies involvement. Assad's ally has said it has "irrefutable evidence" that the chemical attack was "staged" with the help of the UK.

Inspectors from the entered Tuesday to begin a field investigation into the alleged attack.

But Western powers and experts have warned key evidence had likely already been removed or tampered with.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 17 2018. 20:50 IST
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