Turkey, Middle East

White Helmets: Syria's savior angels

2016 Nobel Peace Prize nominee White Helmets give search, rescue and municipality services in Syria's various areas

Sena Güler   | 06.09.2018
White Helmets: Syria's savior angels

Ankara

By Adham Kako

ANKARA

Syria’s civil defense agency White Helmets, who have saved the lives of tens of thousands of civilians in Bashar al-Assad regime and its supporter’s attacks, continue to be a significant support to the Syrian people despite disinformation spread by the Assad regime.

The White Helmets, consisting of more than 3,000 Syrians from various occupations, was established in 2013.

The teams of the civil defense agency, which was nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, carry out search and rescue efforts, while giving municipality services to the people at the same time.

They also inform the people in the region about the mines, improvised explosives and clearance of unexploded bombs.

Until now, they have rescued at least 115,000 civilians from the debris of regime and its supporter’s bombardments.

The White Helmets, who work devotedly to save the lives of Syrian people, have lost 255 workers until today.

They also include 230 volunteer female workers.

In 2013, the White Helmets teams were trained by Turkey’s Search and Rescue Association, AKUT.

The civil defense agency, which has proved the regime and its supporters’ attacks and crimes, have been exposed to their smear campaign recently. 

“We’ve proved their crimes, and we are targeted”  

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, White Helmets’ director Raed Saleh said that their only aim in Syria was to help civilians and they had no connection with any military or political institutions since its establishment.

Saleh said they had been targeted for documenting the crimes of the Assad regime and its supporters with evidence.

“Regime and its supporters, who fear and refrain from our presence in Syria, have started to launch systematic smear campaigns on media,” he said, adding that they used this way to make the evidences proving their crimes unreliable, but they failed.

“They sometimes related us with members of a radical organization and sometimes with Western and international intelligence. And this shows that they have no proof in their hands,” Saleh said. 

“We will continue to stand with victim against hangman”  

The agency’s director Saleh said: “We are the Syrian youth; we are in service of Syrian people. We will continue to stand with the victim against the hangman [Assad]."

Reminding that they carry out joint works with local councils in the regions, he said: “We are also involved in the provision of services such as road repair, fire fighting, electricity and water.

“Our efforts are appreciated by the international society.”

He said their primary aim was to help civilians.

Saleh also added that they re-started their efforts in Syria’s northwestern Afrin province, which has been cleared of YPG/PKK terrorists with Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch.

He said they are conducting joint efforts with Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) teams.

In addition to the areas under the control of the opposition groups in northern Syria, the White Helmets serve civilians in the regions of Turkey’s anti-terror operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating civil war that began in 2011. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict and millions more displaced, according to the UN.

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