Chief of the Civil Defense Corps, also known as the White Helmets, Raed Saleh said that they have recovered tens of thousands of people from under the rubble caused by aerial bombardment by the Assad regime and Russian forces in liberated areas since 2013.
Saleh was speaking at the World Humanitarian Summit that began in Istanbul on Monday. He called upon the nations gathered in the meeting to step up support for the Syrian people. “We must not shy away from the truth. Claiming neutrality in such a conflict is tantamount to equating the victim with the executioner. Being neutral should not mean ignoring accountability, for without it, justice cannot be achieved.”
Saleh slammed the regime forces’ utmost disregard for humanitarian laws saying they posted photos of themselves mutilating bodies of dead people on social media websites. Saleh was referring to the commander of regime forces in Deir Ezzor Issam Zahreddine who published photos of himself posing next to dead bodies in the eastern Syria’s province.
Zahreddine was photographed with two hanged bodies in the background, both bore torture marks. The two bodies appeared to have been cut into several pieces before being hanged. Zahreddine’s son and other soldiers appeared in similar pictures that have been circulated on social media in recent days.
The Civil Defense Corps was founded in 2013 to help victims of the aerial bombardment by the Assad regime and its Russian ally. The corps is comprised of around 2,890 volunteers working in 119 centers across the north of Syria.
Saleh stressed the need to protect vital civilian facilities during armed conflicts, such as medical centers and transportation hubs.
Representatives of 175 countries, including 57 heads of states and governments, attended the World Humanitarian Summit. The UN-organized summit, which concluded earlier today, is the first event of its kind and aims to revise and improve the structure of humanitarian aid within the framework of the United Nations.
The summit began in the Turkish city of Istanbul, on Monday morning, the first World Summit for humanitarian action, and will last for two days. About 6,000 senior aid workers also participated in debates and panels at the summit. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Anadolu Agency)