“A team from the Syrian Civil Defence, or White Helmets, were able to rescue two puppies from the rubble following rocket strikes,” Sky News wrote in a tweet promoting the 31-second clip.
The video shows a group of men from the polarizing, foreign-funded “civil defense” group removing rocks lying on top of a puppy, which, even after surviving a rocket attack and being buried under the rubble, shows no visible signs of injury.
Instead of pulling at heartstrings, the video prompted deep skepticism among Twitter users.
“The #WhiteHelmets have a history of benefiting from the services of UK PR companies to gain positive publicity, including firms that release fake videos (see below from two years ago). Did this ‘puppy rescue’ video also come to @SkyNews via a PR company?” Asked former Scotland Yard detective Charles Shoebridge.
Others had already made up their minds about the video’s authenticity.
“More staged fakery,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Anyone who thought the chained down puppy in the rubble looked convincing? Please DM me asap for new exciting magic beanstalk related opportunities,” another joked.
The White Helmets faced renewed scrutiny after a BBC producer in Syria announced he could prove that a video showing chaotic scenes following an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma last April had been staged. The video was distributed by the group, which only operates in jihadist-controlled areas of Syria and has been accused of having ties to terrorism.