The White Helmets

By Farzeen Amin

All of us have a fixed schedule of life, we set our alarms to wake up in the morning, we start our day with daily chores, we continue with our work, study, family and the day ends in no time but think of the time when suddenly your city is bombarded, the houses are destroyed and all you can hear is the noise of explosives and the cry of help from the people that you know, care and love.  How will your day start and end when you have nowhere to go and nothing to do except of escaping from death. What  your decision will be? Will you flee the country at the first change you get or you will stay and move further inside it?

Syria has become a home to atrocities, bloodshed and cries. In the race of saving life and fleeing the country for safe place there are some who are not running outside but inside it. A country where people are dying with explosives, suffocated in the demolished buildings, alone, scared and crying for the help to come. There they see, the angels of life and mercy coming out of the thick smoke and the dust from collapsing structures. Those angels do not have wings but white helmets on their head and determination to save lives in heart.


The White Helmets are the Syrian Civil Defense which was set up in 2012. It became functional after the uprising against Bashaar al Assad regime became much heated and the death toll of people was rising as they were not provided with any medical aid and assistance. The deadly war had left the dead and wounded to the grounds, streets and abandoned homes. The protest became violent because of the use of force and coercion against the protesters by the government in 2012.  

The young individuals mostly from Aleppo and Idlib became part of the white helmets. The Syrian Civil Defense was established in 2012 and trained by UK based Mayday Rescue Foundation and Turkish  AKUT Search and Rescue Association. The White helmets have played a crucial role in saving the lives of civilians, women, men and especially children. They have helped the people to evacuate the city when there is a warning of attack; they rescue people that are stuck under the rumbles. The white Helmets and Independent Doctors association have worked together to provide people with medical and surgical assistance.

Until 2018 the white helmets have saved more than 114,000 lives and lost more than 200 fellow men in the missions. The rescue activities have become severely dangerous and difficult after the Russian airstrikes started in 2015. The independent doctors and white helmets have also become the target of Russian airstrikes on the accusation of being party of terrorist organization ISIL.  So far none of the claims have been proven against them. The white helmets have continued their duty of saving the worthy lives of people.

The White Helmets do not only comprise of men but it has 100 women in it that are running to save lives of their countrymen alongside with the men in civil defense. Several images on the social media have highlighted the efforts, emotional gestures and the struggle of white helmets for saving lives. The white helmets are the only positivity that is coming from the devastated state of Syria.

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They have restored the faith in humanity that not all are evil. In the rising cruelty there also exists nobility. In the thick dark clouds of horror, there still exists a thin lining of hope. In the world of personal and national interest there are few have endured the human interest, people who can think above and beyond the concept of self, materialism and hatred. If the Utopian world exists somewhere, then it is in the hearts of people such as White Helmets.




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