Damascus (August 13, 2017): At least seven members of the ‘White Helmets’ rescue group were shot dead on Saturday by unidentified gunmen who stormed the volunteers’ office in northwestern Syria, the group and opposition activists said.
The assailants also stole two vans, helmets and walkie-talkies, according to a statement from the group, which is formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense.
The Syrian Civil Defense called for northern Syrian checkpoints to detain any vehicles bearing the White Helmets logo that were not verified.
The attack occurred in the city of Sarmin in Idlib province, which last month came mostly under the control of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, a coalition of Salafi jihadist groups that includes Fateh al-Sham. The latter group had been known as Jabhat al-Nusra before renouncing its ties to al Qaeda.
Idlib, one of the last Syrian provinces still beyond regime control, has been experiencing spikes in violence.