White Helmets: How the volunteers who saved 100,000 in Syria face a Russian disinformation campaign

The group, whose co-founder died on Monday, have been hailed for their work in Syria’s bloody civil war, writes Middle East correspondent Bel Trew

Monday 11 November 2019 20:18 GMT
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Members of the Syrian Civil Defence carry away a man rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building following a reported air strike in Kfar Ruma, in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province
Members of the Syrian Civil Defence carry away a man rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building following a reported air strike in Kfar Ruma, in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province

The Syrian Civil Defence, better known by their uniform and nickname “the White Helmets”, first burst on to the scene in 2013, as a group of volunteer first responders in one of the world’s bloodiest war zones.

They were created in Turkey with the help of James Le Mesurier, an ex-British army officer and director of Mayday Rescue charity, who helped train the teams.

Le Mesurier, 48, was found dead near to his flat in Istanbul early Monday morning, just days after he was accused of being a spy by the Russian foreign ministry that also lashed out at the White Helmets.

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