‘To save a life is to save
all of humanity’
White Helmet's motto, taken from the Quran 5:32
We are the White Helmets (Syria Civil Defence), a humanitarian organisation dedicated to helping communities prepare for, respond to and rebuild after attacks in our beloved Syria.
Our work started in late 2012 as grassroots teams of volunteers across the country coming together in response to the aerial bombardment of neighbourhoods and the withdrawal of essential services like firefighting and healthcare.
We are now a team of 2900 male and female volunteers working in all the areas of the country we can access. Our volunteers come from all walks of life: bakers, tailors, pharmacists, firefighters, engineers. Together we are united in our mission to save lives.
We save people on all sides of the conflict. We are committed to the principles of “Humanity, Solidarity, Impartiality” as outlined by the International Civil Defence Organisation. This pledge guides every response, every action, every life saved - so that in a time of destruction, all Syrians have the hope of a lifeline.
The organisation’s motto comes from a verse in the Quran, ‘for he who saves a life, it will be as if he has saved all of humanity.’ We have saved more than 115,000 lives from under the rubble of aerial attacks.
Alongside our search and rescue missions we provide a range of essential services for more than four million civilians across north-west Syria. These include: fire-fighting, removal of unexploded weapons, community safety awareness, electrical and sewage maintenance and rehabilitation of neighbourhoods.
We are the victims of a campaign of systematic targeting by the Syrian regime and Russia. 264 volunteers have been killed in the line of duty -- more than half of these in deliberately targeted attacks.
Finally, we believe that Syria will not have sustainable peace without accountability and justice. We work to provide documentation of human rights violations to be used in accountability processes.