Salem Meslet, spokesman for the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC), called on the United Nations to invite Syria’s civil defense, known as the “White Helmets,” to be honored in Geneva where the fourth round of peace negotiation is being held. He said the White Helmets deserve to be honored for their role in saving the lives of civilians.
A film documenting the struggle of the White Helmets won the Oscar for best short documentary on Sunday.
“We are delighted to see a film about the White Helmets win an Oscar award, but we believe they are worthy of greater honoring as they risk their lives to save civilians. Many members of the search and rescue groups have lost their lives while digging people from under the rubble of bombed buildings,” Meslet said.
The 40-minute Netflix film, directed by British documentary-maker Orlando von Einsiedel, follows volunteers as they conduct search and rescue operations in Aleppo and undergo training in Turkey.
Raed Saleh, leader of the rescue group, was not be able to leave his work to attend the awards ceremony in Los Angeles because of the high intensity of air strikes by regime forces on the rebel-areas in the provinces of Damascus, Dara’a, and Homs.
“The Oscar award highlighted the crimes the Assad regime and its allies are committing against the Syrian people,” Meslet said. He criticized the reluctance of the international community to explicitly condemn these crimes.
If the United Nations is serious about honoring those who are saving lives, it should invite the White Helmets to Geneva to be honored and to facilitate the issuance of visas to them, Meslet stressed. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)