Syrian regime Ramadan TV show mocks chemical attack victims, White Helmets
An episode of the comedy series, entitled Kontak, ridicules the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group, by depicting them staging the scenes of chemical attacks.
In one episode, a young man is lying on his back and pretending to be a victim of a chemical attack.
He is flanked by a woman and two men dressed as rebel fighters and White Helmets, with one of them holding a camera and the other asking the woman to "cry louder".
The show was aired on Syria's Lana TV channel, owned by close Assad-ally Samer al-Foz, a tycoon who has made a fortune during Syria's brutal war.
The episode sparked anger among many Syrians on social media, who accused the TV programme of trivialising the victims' lives and "blood".
Artist Sawsan Arsheed described the work as "a betrayal of logic and morals".
"I'm not surprised that actors who spend their time clowning around for film production companies and for the state… get a film role or pseudo-role to whitewash the regime and trample over children's corpses," said the actress.
The White Helmets, officially-known as the Syrian Civil Defence, have saved thousands of people in rebel-held parts of Syria, arriving at the scene of air strikes and barrel bombs to rescue people from the rubble and provide first aid.
Founded to help victims of regime airstrikes, the White Helmets are themselves deliberately and frequently targeted by the Syrian regime and its ally Russia, who also attack hospitals and medical facilities in opposition-held areas of Syria.
A 2017 investigation by The Guardian also found that the White Helmets were the subject of a widespread media misinformation campaign by the Russian government to portray them as Al-Qaeda linked terrorists.
A report by the Global Public Policy Institute concluded that around 98 percent of the hundreds of chemical attacks in Syria since the start of the 2011 war were carried out by Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Over half a million people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, which broke out after the brutal suppression of anti-Assad protests in 2011.
Most of the casualties have been caused by regime bombardment of civilian areas.