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Fri May 5, 2017, 08:02 PM

Syrias White Helmets Court Bernie Sanders And Other New Friends

05/05/2017 07:27 pm ET

Excerpts:

WASHINGTON ― Representatives of the White Helmets, the Syrian humanitarian organization that’s estimated to have saved tens of thousands of lives, are used to visiting Washington. The group receives U.S. government assistance, and it’s been featured in an Oscar-winning Netflix documentary. Its chief, Raed Saleh, has received scores of awards, most recently a spot on the Time 100 list.

Last Tuesday, two representatives of the group, officially known as Syria Civil Defense, met with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Through the course of the trip, White Helmets members had their first encounters with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a progressive favorite, and a raft of other lawmakers who have not previously engaged with them, like moderate GOP Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana.

“As we try to come up with a plan to end the devastating war in Syria, it’s very important to hear from those who are experiencing it firsthand,” Sanders told HuffPost. “The death and destruction taking place in Syria, and the brutality of the Assad regime is almost beyond belief. I was honored to meet with these incredibly brave volunteers, ordinary men and women, who risk their lives to help their fellow citizens.”

“It was important for us to meet Sen. Sanders and other American politicians so we could explain what is happening to civilians who are under attack from all sides inside Syria,” Mounir Mustafa, the group’s deputy head, told HuffPost. “Twenty-four hospitals have been bombed in the last month alone, and many areas are subject to daily airstrikes. In the last week, 12 White Helmets have been targeted and killed while rescuing others. We hope that Sen. Sanders stands with us in our humanitarian mission to save lives and uses his voice to call for an end to all attacks on civilians.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/syria-white-helmets-court-bernie-sanders-new-friends_us_590ce890e4b0104c734f1a51





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