NEW YORK — In an Oslo Freedom Forum video released today, White Helmets co-founder Abdulrahman Al-Mawwas speaks out against the Syrian regime’s attacks on civilians and asks the international community for help.

Aug 16, 2017

Earlier this week, the White Helmets suffered a horrific attack, in which seven of its volunteers were assassinated. This is the first attack that has specifically targeted White Helmets members.

The White Helmets is a volunteer organization also known as the Syrian Civil Defense that acts as first responders after bombings and airstrikes in Syria, providing crucial emergency aid to injured civilians. The organization’s motto since its founding has been “to save one life is to save all of humanity.” Since 2012, 203 White Helmets rescuers have lost their lives in airstrikes while providing aid. This is the first attack on the organization that has directly targeted its members.

On August 12, seven members of the White Helmets were shot dead by unknown gunmen during the middle of the night; as of August 16, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack occurred at the organization’s operations center in Idlib, a province that is located in northwest Syria and that is currently under the control of a jihadist militant group.

“Ever since dictator Bashar al-Assad began to wage war against the Syrian people, these brave individuals have put their lives on the line to save civilians that have been buried beneath the rubble,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. “They will forever be remembered for their bravery and devotion to serve their people,” added Halvorssen.

The White Helmets were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016, and a documentary on the group’s work, titled “White Helmets,” won an Academy Award in 2017. Al-Mawwas’ talk is available on the Oslo Freedom Forum website, on YouTube, and on Facebook.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

For press inquiries, contact Prachi Vidwans at (212) 246-8486 or [email protected]



Watch Al-Mawwas’ talk and share it to show the world that heroic work is being done in Syria to save civilians.


Donate to the White Helmets to get wounded volunteers back on their feet, help the families of their fallen rescue workers, and replace lifesaving equipment destroyed in the bombings. For more information on their work, visit


Bashar Ja’afari Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Syria to the U.N.

Phone: (212) 661-1313

Fax: (212) 983-4439

Address: 820 Second Ave. 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017