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Syria Rescuers Film Tutorial to Aid Ukraine's First Responders

Syria Rescuers Film Tutorial to Aid Ukraine's First Responders

Monday, 11 April, 2022 - 10:30
Members of the Syrian civil defense known as the White Helmets use a dummy to demonstrate their rescue skills during a video shoot for an instructive film intended for Ukrainian rescuers, in the war-ravaged Syrian town of Ariha. Omar Haj Kadour/ AFP

In a bombed-out building in northwest Syria, rescue workers who for years have braved Russia's war strategies film a tutorial video for Ukrainian volunteers crammed with tips gained from first-hand experience of treating casualties.

Using a dummy, members of Syria's "White Helmets" civil defense force demonstrate how to apply bandages and tourniquets in a clip shot in the opposition-held town of Ariha in Idlib province where Russian airstrikes are relatively routine.

The video, which offers a range of other rescue initiatives, is the latest example of how Syrians are mobilizing to share with Ukrainians bitter knowledge gleaned from more than a decade of war involving Russian forces.

"As first responders, we believe that we can share our experiences in Syria with humanitarian aid workers in Ukraine," volunteer rescuer Ismail al-Abdullah tells the camera in English, battered buildings dotting the street behind him.

Speaking to AFP, Abdullah said the aim of the initiative is to produce tutorials that will be translated into Ukrainian and uploaded on the White Helmets' website.

The content is intended to help rescuers and civilians in Ukraine deal with Russia's bombardment strategy which it developed during Syria's war.

In the video, Abdullah warns Ukrainian rescuers against "double strikes" in which an initial raid is followed by a second attack that hits after rescuers have gathered at the scene.

Abdullah advised Ukraine's rescue workers to document their work using GoPro cameras "to safeguard credibility" and shield themselves from smear campaigns that have previously been used to undermine Syria's first responders.

Syrian medical student Mohamed Haj Musa, who also appears in the tutorial video, said he hopes the advice will help Ukraine's people "deal with injuries they could see at any moment".

"We lived the experience and saw the victims," Haj Musa told AFP, hoping that his experience could help other first responders "save lives".

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