Seven rescue workers killed in jihadist-held Syria town





Beirut (AFP) - Unidentified assailants shot dead seven members of Syria's White Helmets rescue service early Saturday during a raid on their base in a jihadist-held northwestern town, the group said.

The attackers struck in Sarmin, nine kilometres (six miles) east of the city of Idlib, that is controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham jihadist alliance.

"The civil defence centre in Sarmin was the target of an armed attack by unknown assailants in which seven volunteers were killed," the White Helmets said in statement.

"Two minibuses, some white helmets and walkie-talkies were stolen."

It was not immediately clear whether the motives for the raid were political or purely criminal.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham denounced what it called an "ugly crime" and vowed to track down the perpetrators and bring them to account.

The jihadist group said the attack was aimed at "undermining our revolution", adding that it stood ready to protect the White Helmets in "liberated areas" of Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the seven volunteers had all been killed by bullets to the head.

"Colleagues came in the morning for the change of shift and found them dead," its director, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP.

The White Helmets emerged in 2013, working to rescue civilians in rebel-held areas.

They have since gained international renown for their daring rescues, often filmed and circulated on social media, and were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

Although they work exclusively in rebel-held areas, they insist they are non-partisan.

Their detractors, including President Bashar al-Assad's government and his ally Russia, accuse them of being tools of their international donors.

They receive funding from a number of Western governments, including Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.

Critics also accuse them of harbouring rebel fighters, including jihadists, in their ranks.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Islamic State: What happened to all the foreign fighters?
Islamic State: What happened to all the foreign fighters?

An estimated 40,000 people traveled from around the world to take up arms for the Islamic State group as it occupied territory in Syria and Iraq and declared a caliphate in 2014. How many have gone elsewhere to fight?" said Seth Jones, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corporation. International counterterror groups are putting huge efforts into answering those questions, working hard to name, count and track IS foreign fighters.

Pentagon alarmed by uptick in close calls with Russia jets in Syria
Pentagon alarmed by uptick in close calls with Russia jets in Syria

The Pentagon is voicing growing alarm that the risky flying of Russian pilots in Syria could lead to a mishap -- or even the nightmare scenario of a US jet shooting down a Russian warplane. Defense officials this week highlighted several recent close calls with Russian planes, including one Wednesday, when a pair of US F-22s intercepted two Russian jets over a part of Syria in which the Pentagon says they are not meant to be operating. The uptick in incidents comes as remaining operations by the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria have shrunk down to an area of only about 15 square miles (39 square kilometers) around Albu Kamal in eastern Syria, by the Iraq border.

German teenager says she was 'idiot' for joining Isil, in first interview since capture
German teenager says she was 'idiot' for joining Isil, in first interview since capture

A German teenage girl has said she was an "idiot" for joining Islamic State and the decision has wrecked her future, in her first interview since her arrest by Iraqi forces in Mosul.   Linda Wenzel, 17, claimed her escape was a "stupid idea" but showed little remorse in the first meeting with her family since she left her hometown of Pulsnitz in Saxony for Syria in July last year.  Linda was briefly reunited with her mother Katharina and sister Miriam, who were allowed to visit her at the Palace of Justice in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.  A video of the meeting shows Linda, who is currently being held in prison while she awaits trial, wearing a flowery headscarf sporting round cheeks....

US jets intercept Russian warplanes in Syria: Pentagon
US jets intercept Russian warplanes in Syria: Pentagon

A pair of US warplanes intercepted two Russia jets over a part of Syria they were not supposed to be operating in, the Pentagon said Thursday. At one point during Wednesday's incident, the American F-22 Raptor stealth fighters deployed chaff and flares to convince the Russian Su-25s to leave the area, and one US pilot had to "aggressively maneuver" to avoid a midair collision, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said. The Russian fighters had flown into airspace controlled by the US-led coalition that is fighting the Islamic State group in Syria, crossing onto the east side of the Euphrates River near Albu Kamal.

More than 20 IS killed in southern Syria: coalition
More than 20 IS killed in southern Syria: coalition

Syrian opposition forces backed by a US-led coalition killed more than 20 Islamic State fighters and took several others prisoner Thursday, military officials said. According to the coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq, a vetted Syrian opposition group known as the Maghawir al-Thawra detected the fighters early Thursday in an area controlled by pro-Syrian regime forces in southern Syria, in the Al-Tanf border region. Supported by coalition forces, the Maghawir al-Thawra "quickly and professionally conducted an operation," the coalition said in a statement.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.