Interactive Session on ‘Humanitarian Crisis in Syria: Truth & Disinformation’
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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) organized an interactive session on ‘Humanitarian Crisis in Syria: Truth & Disinformation’ on 8 November 2019. Dr Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF delivered his opening remarks followed by a brief summary by Russian Ambassador to India, Nikolay Rishatovich Kudashev who introduced the main speaker, Maxim Grigoryev, Director of the Foundation for the Study of Democracy”, Moscow.

The discussion focused on the Russian role in the Syrian civil war and their contribution to reconstruction and institution-building in Syria. The discussion offered valuable insights over the usage of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war. The subject of misreporting and fake news was discussed in the context of accusations faced by the Syrian Government under President Bashar Al Assad. The interaction asserted that the ‘White Helmet’ group has been responsible for dispensing false information about the chemical attacks to create an international outcry against the Assad government. The combined attack on 14 April 2018 by the US, France and the UK against the government forces after allegation of use of chemical weapons on 7 April 2018 was false according to the Russian delegation. The delegation argued that the activities of White Helmets were not voluntary in nature and the functioning of the group is motivated by vested interests and many of its members have links with terror elements. The interaction broadly-offered an alternative narrative over sensitive issues during the course of the Syrian civil war.

The interaction was followed by a Q&A round in which Russia’s long-term role in the West Asian region; bilateral relations between India and Russia and strategic competition between the US and Russia, Russia’s take on US-China trade war, Kurdish issue etc. were extensively discussed.

Event Date 
November 8, 2019

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