Photographs which claim to show Syrian volunteer rescue workers, known as the White Helmets, staging a chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta were actually taken from a film 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 conspiracy theorists online.
The photos -- which show actors covered in dust, with bloody makeup and a clapper board -- were presented by supporters of Bashar al-Assad as proof that the alleged chlorine and sarin gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma on April 7 was fake.
After failing to achieve his goal, he "fabricates a chemical attack to give his photos a global impact", the agency said.
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.
France has said it has "proof" that "chemical weapons were used" by Assad's regime. The Syrian government denies involvement. Assad's ally Russia has said it has "irrefutable evidence" that the chemical attack was "staged" with the help of the UK.
But Western powers and experts have warned key evidence had likely already been removed or tampered with.
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