World Bulletin / News Desk
A film looking into the life of civil defense volunteers in war-torn Syria has won an Oscar for best short documentary.
“We have highlighted the suffering of civilians in Syria to the world,” cinematographer Khaled Khatib said.
The 40-minute film celebrates the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group established in 2014 and operates in opposition-held areas in Syria.
It follows three rescue workers with the group -- also known as the Syrian Civil Defense -- who train in Turkey to provide medical assistance to civilians caught in the civil war.
“I believe that we have explained to the world how civilians are living under bombardment,” said Khatib, who worked on the documentary.
“The world is now quite aware how much White Helmets volunteers risk their lives to save civilians,” he said.
The Syrian activist noted that his group has saved the lives of more than 82,000 civilians. “We have lost 168 volunteers,” he said.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime of Bashar al-Assad cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed and upwards of 10 million displaced across the war-torn country, according to the UN. The Syrian Center for Policy Research puts the death toll at more than 470,000.
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