Raed Al Saleh

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"Spouting about the Skripal Affair"

Raed Al Saleh is head of the White Helmets group in Syria.[1]

“Every single one of us has taken an oath to save lives regardless of political, sectarian or religious affiliation! We are neutral, impartial and humanitarian.” Raed al-Saleh

Refuge in Turkey

The Syrian Arab Army entered his town in June 2011 forcing him to go into hiding in Turkey. By the end of 2012, several areas in Idlib, Syria had been liberated from SAA troops and he returned to Idlib to work in the humanitarian field helping refugees and displaced persons.

Raed Al Saleh heard about training being offered in Civil Defence and attended the first course run for Idlib in June 2013. He excelled during the course and his team mates elected him as their representative and he returned to set-up a further 20 teams in Idlib over the next 12 months. He is appointed by the regional White Helmets leaders as the head of Syria Civil Defence in the liberated areas, consisting of more than 2,800 members and 114 stations.[2]

Public face

Raed Saleh rose to media glory through his leadership of a group of proclaimed “saviours of all humanity.” Since its formation in late 2013, the White Helmets claim to by Syria’s only viable ‘civil defence’ first responders, selflessly saving some 72,000 lives in only three years – regardless of the victim’s ethnicity, religious convictions or political aspirations. So the promotional literature goes.

A former self-described electronics salesman from Jisr Al Shugour in Syria, ‘President’ Raed Saleh has become the public face of the White Helmets. He has spoken on a variety of media, think tank and NGO platforms, always conveying the image of the White Helmets as a ‘grass-roots’ and selfless, first responder unit ready to answer the call of humanity in war-torn Syria. The White Helmet mantra, “neutral-impartial-humanitarian,” has been an integral part of their marketing success in persuading the public of their legitimacy as a bona fide humanitarian organisation – despite some very clear evidence to the contrary.[3]

"Supporting Syria"

White Helmets' leader Raed Al Saleh speaking in London

Raed Al Saleh, Head of the Syria Civil Defence (White Helmets), speaking at the "Supporting Syria & the Region Conference", London, 4 February 2016.[4]

Oxygen of publicity

On 1 November 2018, Raed al-Saleh was given the oxygen of publicity by Justin Webb on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme (2:32:56 to 2:38:54).[5] On Twitter Mary Dejevsky commented:

"Was prepared to give #WhiteHelmets guy benefit of doubt #bbcr4today - until he started spouting #skripals and other stuff irrelevant to his cause, but straight out of #UK govt playbook."[6]



References