US calls killing of volunteer White Helmets in Syria 'brutal murders'



WASHINGTON (dpa) - The United States on Sunday said it was "horrified" by the killing of seven rescue volunteers working in war-devastated Syria, calling them "brutal murders."
Unknown gunmen killed the seven volunteers, who were members of the White Helmets, on Saturday in Idlib's Sarmin town.



"These cowardly acts of masked men took the lives of civilian volunteers who work tirelessly as first responders in order to save lives in incredibly dangerous environments," a statement issued by the State Department said.
"We are saddened and horrified to hear about the brutal murders," the statement said, expressing condolences to the families of the volunteers.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said the seven were fatally shot in the head at a civil defence centre.
The assailants made off with all equipment that was inside the place, the watchdog added. There has been no claim of responsibility.
The White Helmets, also known as Syria Civil Defence, have about 3,000 members dedicated to rescuing people from bombed houses, fighting fires and offering first aid, often at great personal risk. The group was formed in 2013 and is not aligned to any party fighting in Syria.
Idlib is mostly controlled by al-Qaeda-linked insurgents, who were recently engaged in fighting against rivals.
Turkey has tightened control over the border crossing to Idlib after hardline jihadists took power in key areas recently.
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Monday, August 14th 2017
dpa
           


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