When Khaled Omar, a Syrian Civil Defense White Helmet volunteer in Syria, rescued a 14-day-old baby boy from debris following a Russian air strike, the world cheered and celebrated his heroism. The “miracle baby”, after being buried for 16 hours, was safe at last in Aleppo.
“I thought I was being delusional because I was so tired,” Omar told Vocativ, a news website.
On a visit to the United Nations, Omar told reporters that he hoped “the American government and people will remember Syrian people who’ve suffered bombing and destruction and that they’ll help us.”
But help did not come in time for Omar. In 2016, the Assad regime launched another air strike. Shrapnel from the attack struck Omar in the throat and he bled to death.
Omar is one of an estimated 470,000 Syrians killed during the last five years in that country’s civil war.
Syria’s White Helmets organized in 2013 as a volunteer force of common citizens dedicated to helping victims of this brutal war. Of their 3,000 members, about 130 have died while serving. The White Helmets have saved an estimated 56,000 lives.
The brave efforts of Syria’s White Helmets earned them a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for 2016.
These volunteers operate in what many believe is the most dangerous place on earth. ISIS has seized much of northern Syria. Meanwhile, Russia and Iran are fighting to protect the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the United States and other nations back the Sunni-dominated opposition.
Assad has maintained his position of power even as the majority of the population has rebelled against his government, which they perceive as corrupt.
Besides the dead, more than11 million Syrians are now homeless. Many have sought refuge in the West.
In the midst of confusing political and military alliances, the White Helmets render aid to victims without regard to religion or politics.
Pray for peace in Syria and for the White Helmets who valiantly work to save victims.