Russian information warfare: the case of the white helmets in Syria
CitationKaratas, I. (2021). Russian information warfare: The case of the white helmets in Syria. Contemporary Issues with Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Social Science (19-35).
Syria's opposition civil-defense network, namely the White Helmets, has been under the military and information warfare of Russia since the Russian army began to fight alongside the Syrian regime against rebel groups in September 2015. Designating the organization as a terrorist group, Russians attacked the White Helmets' operation centers and simultaneously waged an information war to smear the organization and perpetuate confusion among the world audience. This study has analyzed Russian media, affiliated news outlets, social media, pro-Russian reports disseminating Russian claims, the White Helmets' reports and concerning news in the Western media. It also made interviews with top officials of the organization to check the accuracy of Russian accusations. After comparing allegations of both sides, it has concluded that there is massive Russian information warfare on the White Helmets that testifies Russian and the regime crimes on the frontline. The research has also contended that Russian black propaganda has become successful. As a side finding, this study has revealed which tactics the Russian propaganda machine uses during the discrediting campaigns. Methodologically, both quantitative and qualitative researches were used.