Formed in 2014 by civilian volunteers caught up in the depravity of the Syrian Civil War, the Syrian Civil Defense (SCD), commonly known as The White Helmets, worked to move vulnerable non-combatants from harm's way. They delivered essential services such as first aid and the delivery of humanitarian supplies to areas that foreign NGOs fear to tread. It's thought that since the SCD's inception, they've been responsible for saving well over 100,000 lives, with 204 White Helmet volunteers dying in the process. At most, those working the debris fields of what were once proud Syrian cities on behalf of the SCD were paid $150, per month. Aside from this stipend, it's largely thankless, incredibly dangerous work.
For their efforts, the White Helmets came under threat from the Syrian government and their influence-horny Russian allies. With much of the financial and logistical support that had been offered to them by the west drying up as the Syrian Civil War wound down, SCD volunteers were left with few safe places to hide, few resources and seemingly, few allies.
Then, something amazing happened.
As reported by the BBC, in July of 2018, the Israeli military yoinked 100 White Helmet volunteers and their families--a total of 422 people--out from under the noses of the Syrian military and their allies. The Kingdom of Jordan was cool with giving the White Helmets a place to hang, so long as it was on a short-term basis. Canada offered to grant 10 of the White Helmets and their families asylum. Read the rest
Since 2013, the Syria Civil Defense, better known to the world as the White Helmets, have been putting themselves at risk in one of the most dangerous regions in the world. During the Syrian Civil War and throughout the campaign against ISIL in the war-torn country, the White Helmets could always be found working to save whoever they could in the wake of aerial bombardments, artillery barrages and secondary explosions. Their rescues, often made during pitched battles, were completed under great personal risk.
Of late, however, the White Helmets have been facing a new threat: The Syrian government. The Syrian government has taken back control of the majority of the areas that the White Helmets operated in – areas once held by anti-government factions. While the White Helmets recused anyone who needed their help, the government sees them as being associated with the rebels. That’s bad news for for the volunteers – bad enough that the United Nations and a number of member states worked together to get them and their families the hell out of the country.
From The BBC:
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Some 422 volunteers and family members were taken to Jordan via the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights overnight. The UK, one of the nations requesting Israel's help, hailed the operation and will assist with resettlement. The White Helmets describe themselves as a volunteer workforce that acts to save people in Syria's war zones.
Supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and his Russian allies, say the White Helmets support the rebels and also have links to jihadist groups.