White Helmets film on brave work in Syria wins Oscar

words by Raed al-Saleh

It’s great to see the White Helmets film being honoured with an Oscar for best short documentary. The film covers the work of the volunteer rescue group of the same name that operates in rebel-held parts of Syria.

It’s an inspiring film to watch and an important insight into both the work the White Helmets do and the horrifying events taking place in Syria. Raed al-Saleh, the head of the White Helmets was too busy with his work to attend the Oscars ceremony but the following is a message he wanted to relay on winning the award.

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Dear friends,

We are honoured that ‘The White Helmets’ film has received an Oscar.  This film has helped show the world what is happening in Syria. It will give great courage to our volunteers across the country.

But we are not happy to do what we do. We abhor the reality we live in. Yesterday there were dozens of attacks across Syria, chemical weapons were used against children and a White Helmets centre was bombed. Still we carry on.

This is a Ahmad, a White Helmets volunteer, rescuing his nephew from one of the attacks in Idlib. After this picture was taken he went back to try and rescue his brother and his sister-in-law:

We don’t want support to continue this work, but to end this work. I ask everyone who is listening and seeing me now across the world to take a stand to stop the killing of civilians in Syria, to pressure governments to end the ongoing Syrian conflict and to hold those accountable for war crimes to account. We hope this film and the attention helps move the world to act to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

Thank you for standing with us on the side of life — it is a great comfort to us all.

In peace,

Raed, Head of the White Helmets (Syria Civil Defence)

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Raed al-Saleh did not attend the Oscars to pick up the award for the White Helmets fillm due to the pressures of their work, but you can watch Raed’s video message. If you want to support their work please donate to replace the lifesaving kit they lost in yesterday’s attack

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