Netherlands to give €4 million to Syria rescue workers

Syrian rescue workers the White Helmets
Syrian rescue workers the White Helmets.

The Netherlands is giving another 4 million euros to support the Syrian rescue workers the White Helmets, Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs announced in The Hague on Monday at a screening of a documentary about the White Helmets, NU.nl reports.

The White Helmets consists of about 3 thousand volunteers who are often first at the scene of attacks and bombings to help the victims. According to the Minister, these volunteers alredy saved an estimated 73 thousand people from under rubble left by attacks. "The life-saving and courageous work these volunteers do under terrible circumstances, deserve our continued support. The heores of Aleppo offer hope where despair reigns", Koenders said.

Of the money 3 million euros will go to the White Helmets. This is on top of the donated earlier this year. The other 1 million euros will go towards improving shelters in Aleppo and a new siren system to warn the local residents about incoming attacks. Koenders said that the Netherlands is offering the money with "great humility", because it is not proportionate to the Syrians' suffering.

Koenders said that he watched the documentary with a sense of shame and guilt. "Everyone looks to our politicians and ask: why are you doing nothing about it?" he said. According to him, it is therefore crucial that the suffering in the Syrian civil war continues to get as much attention as possible to mobilize the international community to put an end to the war. 

White Helmets rescue worker Abdulrahman Al-Mawwas also attended the screening of the documentary. According to him, the suffering in the country is only increasing. Both Syrian and Russian air forces are increasingly throwing bombs and hospitals are no longer spared, even if the Russians and the Syrian regime deny this. On Saturday the World Health Organization announced that all hospitals in the east of Aleppo, which are under the control of the insurgents, are no longer operating. 

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