Raed Al Saleh

Raed Al Saleh is the head of the Syrian Civil Defense also known as the “The White Helmets”. Raed leads over 2,000 unarmed and neutral volunteers who rush in to act as paramedics, firefighters, and search-and-rescue workers during the barrel-bombings that regularly decimate cities throughout Syria. By risking their own lives, the volunteers have managed to save as many as 40,000 people. Al Saleh has stated that the group’s motto is “to save one life is to save all humanity”. Raed was the recipient of InterAction’s 2016 Humanitarian Award and there have been calls for “The White Helmets” to be awarded The Nobel Peace Prize.

Illustration by Johnny Selman

Syria

“…the single greatest killer is the barrel bomb: a rusty barrel packed with explosives and nails, glass, shrapnel, sometimes even axes.” Raed Al Saleh describes in a Washington Post OpEd. “Pushed from the Assad regime’s helicopters, the barrels hurtle from high in the sky and explode onto our markets, hospitals and homes. The regime drops them deep into civilian areas so there is no risk of the wind blowing them back onto its forces on the front lines. The largest bombs can ravage an area the size of 10 buildings. Some bombs contain chlorine, despite an explicit resolution from the U.N. Security Council this month condemning its use.”

Total Area
185,180 km2 (89th)

Demonym
Syrian

Government
Unitary dominant-party semi-presidential republic

Population
18,006,267

Capital
Damascus

GDP (PPP)
$5,040 per capita