Curbelo Meets With Syrian White Helmet Leaders in Washington

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Washington, D.C., April 28, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments
“One of the greatest blemishes on human history is the war that has raged in Syria for over six years, but as in all tragedies we should look to the helpers for hope in humanity and the future. The men and women of the Syria Civil Defense are working to save as many lives as possible from Assad’s brutal and ruthless attacks against innocent Syrians. Their work should be commended and supported and I’m honored to have met them in Washington.”
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Representative Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) met with leaders of the Syria Civil Defense (SCD), known as the White Helmets, in Washington to discuss the ongoing humanitarian work of the SCD and the changes on the ground in Syria following the airstrike against Bashar al-Assad.

“One of the greatest blemishes on human history is the war that has raged in Syria for over six years, but as in all tragedies we should look to the helpers for hope in humanity and the future,” Curbelo said. “The men and women of the Syria Civil Defense are working to save as many lives as possible from Assad’s brutal and ruthless attacks against innocent Syrians. Their work should be commended and supported and I’m honored to have met them in Washington.”

White Helmet leaders explained the details of their work, expressed their appreciation for Curbelo’s support of the airstrike against the Assad regime, and indicated that since the airstrike earlier this month, they have seen a significant decrease in air attacks from the Assad regime. Curbelo has continually called for action against Bashar al-Assad since August 2013.

All photos are attributed to the Office of Representative Carlos Curbelo, and biographies of each leader are available below.

Mounir Mustafa is the deputy head of the Syria Civil Defense. He is originally from Tal Karameh, a town in northern Idlib close to the Turkish border. Before joining the SCD, Mustafa was a firefighter. He served for close to 10 years in the state-operated firefighting force in Aleppo, and after the Revolution, he and his colleagues started an independent firefighting brigade. He joined the Syria Civil Defense at its founding in 2013. He studied electrical engineering in Aleppo. He is married with three children.

 Jehad Mahameed is the liaison officer of the Syria Civil Defense. He is from Daraa and was one of the original founders of the local civil defense committee in Daraa in 2011. When the Syria Civil Defense was officially formed in 2013, his committee joined the national organization. He also helped to start the Quneitra branch of the SCD, establishing the first offices in Quneitra just last year. He studied economics in college and worked in the state-run Syrian Commercial Bank until 2011. He has two children, one boy and one girl.

Manal Abazeed is a Syria Civil Defense volunteer in Daraa. She joined the White Helmets in April 2015 and specializes in public safety education and awareness. Her trainings cover explosive weapons, trauma counselling and childbirth. In addition to her work with the White Helmets, Manal is also head of the Free Union of Women and works with young people. Before 2011, Manal worked as an accountant, but when the revolution broke out Manal joined the peaceful protests and worked as the Director of the Media Office of the General Committee of the Syrian Revolution in Daraa. 

Abazeed shares her experiences as an explosive technician with Curbelo.


Mahameed explains the situation on the ground for him and his team when they are called to a scene.

Curbelo reiterates his support for action against Assad and thanks Mustafa, Mahameed and Abazeed for their important work on the ground. 

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