Across Syria, White Helmets Protest Killing of 7 Colleagues

UPDATE 1800 GMT: An armed gang has attacked another civil defense center.

Mustafa al-Haj Yousif, the director of civil defense in Idlib Province, said the men tried to block the center in the Jabal al-Zawiya region before infiltrating. Volunteers responded by appealing to the residents, security forces, and rebel factions.

Yousif said the one of the gang fired live ammunition before the group withdrew.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Volunteers of the White Helmets civil defense organization have protested throughout Syria over the killing of seven of their colleagues in a gang attack.

The men at the Sarmin civil defense center in Idlib Province in northwest Syria were each shot in the head on Saturday by assailants who stole money, two minibuses being used as ambulances, and equipment. The attackers have not been identified.

The seven slain rescuers were Ziad Hasan Qadahnoun; Basel Mustafa Qassas; Mohammad Shbib (Abu Zaid); Abulrazzak Hasan Haj Khalil; Mohammad Deib Elhir (Abu Kifah); Mohammad Kruma; and Obaida Al-Radwan.

Raed Saleh, the head of the White Helmets said:

It is hard to find to words to describe my martyred colleagues; each of them leaves stories of hope behind in lives they’ve saved and injured they’ve rescued. I feel very proud of their humanitarian actions and the legacy they leave. We promise the Syrian people this crime will not deter us from serving them and alleviating their suffering.

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The White Helmets, created in 2013, have reportedly saved more than 95,000 lives in their rescue operations. Almost 200 have been killed in the line of duty, the large majority by Assad regime and Russian airstrikes.

To legimitize the killings, Russian State outlets have pursued a campaign — especially since Moscow’s military intervention in September 2015, which has destroyed scores of hospitals, clinics, civil defense centers, and other facilities — declaring that the White Helmets are linked to both a US conspiracy and “Al Qa’eda”. The line has been loudly taken up by some activists and commentators in the West, such as Vanessa Beeley and Max Blumenthal.

See Smearing Syria’s White Helmets — From the Assadists to the Conspiracy Theorists
Syria Feature: These Are The White Helmets

Writer and activist Lina Sergie Attar noted on Sunday:



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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. You can’t be serious! How on earth can there be a base for the White Helmets in Sarmin, a town controlled by Jabhat al Nusra – HTS – since the Jaish al Fatah invasion of March 2015? Like the M10 hospital in Aleppo, where WH and JN’s ‘offices’ were operating in adjacent buildings, this is hardly coincidence.
    It’s only a pity that these uncivil defence workers weren’t killed by the relatives of their innumerable victims, but by others of the same kind.

    • The White helmets do not deserve do be killed for saving peoples lives, nor do they deserve to have such vile comments posted about them. Good will win in the end and people like you will pay for their evil.

  2. Given the amount of information available on the public domain, much of it volunteered by Mustafa al-Haj Yousif himself, I find it surprising and more than a little disturbing that you dismiss the evidence of the White Helmets’ links to Al Qa’eda as “conspiracy”.
    Since the liberation of East Aleppo, concrete evidence has emerged that the White Helmets were, indeed, not only working with Al Qa’eda but housed in buildings only meters apart. Evidence which makes a complete mockery of the narrative of those agents calling for regime change in Syria.
    Might I respectfully suggest that in future you put to good use those research skills which earned you your title and profession. Regurgitating second hand information from sources with a clear agenda is not only beneath you as a so-called “professor” and “specialist” in foreign policy, it belies any critical or independent thought.

    • Mila,

      I would welcome any presentation of the evidence you claim —- there is none in your comment. And it might be helpful if you actually reviewed any of the articles I have written. It appears from your remarks that you have not.


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