BEIRUT — The head of the Syrian search-and-rescue group featured in the harrowing Oscar-winning Netflix documentary “The White Helmets” says on Monday he hopes the award will serve as an inspiration to his volunteers to keep up their mission in the war-torn country.
Raed Saleh of the Syrian Civil Defense — popularly known as White Helmets — also appeals on governments around the world “to stop the bloodshed of the Syrian people.”
Speaking in a video recorded in southern Turkey, he quotes from the Quran: “Whoever saves a life — it is as if he has saved mankind entirely.”
The Oscar for the best documentary short “will inspire our volunteers with the moral support to continue rescuing civilians in Syria,” Saleh says.
The film focuses on Syrian first-responders, rescue workers who risk their lives to save Syrians affected by the civil war, now in its sixth year. The film often captures the highly dangerous moments when the White Helmets arrive at the scene of an airstrike, which may be imminently bombed for a second time in a so-called “double tap” attacks.
The White Helmets did not have a representative at the Los Angeles Oscars ceremony after US immigration authorities barred entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on the film.