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Syria's White Helmets 'proud' after Oscar nomination Open in fullscreen

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Syria's White Helmets 'proud' after Oscar nomination

The White Helmets say they have saved over 78,000 lives during Syria's six-year war [AFP]

Date of publication: 25 January, 2017

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Volunteer rescue team hopes its humanitarian message will be spread further after Netflix documentary on their work goes up for top film accolade.
Syria's White Helmets said on Tuesday that they were "proud" after a documentary film about their work was nominated for an Academy Award.

"The White Helmets documentary produced by Netflix was nominated for [an] Oscar!! I'm so proud to have filmed this film and for this nomination," White Helmet photographer Khaled Khatib tweeted.

The "White Helmets" documentary, which was released on Netflix September, was named as a contender in the Oscars short documentary category.

"It's a new opportunity to convey (our) humanitarian and moral message," the group's leader Raed Saleh told AFP.

"The White Helmets film's nomination for an Oscar is a new confirmation of the civil defence's credibility in Syria."

"It will help us to reach the goal and the slogan we have been using since the start: 'To save one life is to save all of humanity'," he added, quoting a verse from the Quran.

Formed in 2013, the White Helmets - or Syrian Civil Defence Forces, as they are also known - emerged to help rescue civilians in rebel-held areas after regime airstrikes and attacks.

With over 3,000 volunteers in its ranks, the group says it has saved more than 78,000 lives during the course of Syria's nearly six-year war.

The White Helmets film, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, is one of several movies released for online streaming that were nominated for an award at the 89th Academy Awards set to take place in Los Angeles on February 26.

In 2016, the White Helmets group itself was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize, but ultimately lost out. The group later launched a $1,000,000 fundraising drive to raise the funds that would have been received if it had won that award.

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