Seven rescue workers killed in IS-held Syria town
Beirut, Lebanon - Unidentified assailants shot dead seven members of Syria’s White Helmets rescue service early on Saturday during a raid on their base in an extremist-held northwestern town, the group said.
The attackers struck in the town of Sarmin, 9km east of the city of Idlib, that is controlled by the Hayat Tahrir al Sham extremist alliance.
‘The civil defence centre in Sarmin was the target of an armed attack by unknown assailants in which seven volunteers were killed’, the White Helmets said in statement.
‘Two mini-buses, some white helmets and walkie-talkies were stolen’. It was not immediately clear whether the motives for the raid were political or purely criminal. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the seven volunteers had all been killed by bullets to the head.
“Colleagues came in the morning for the change of shift and found them dead,” its director, Rami Abdel Rahman, said.
The White Helmets emerged in 2013, working to rescue civilians in rebel-held areas.
23 rebel fighters killed in blast
On Friday, at least 23 rebel fighters were killed and dozens more wounded in a suicide blast in southern Syria near the border with Jordan, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It said the bomber detonated an explosive belt at a base used by Jaish al Islam near the Nasib border crossing.
“Most of the 23 rebels killed were from Jaish al Islam. Dozens were wounded, including 20 in critical condition,” said observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but terrorists linked to the IS have attacked rebels in southern Syria.
The Nasib border crossing was captured by rebel groups in April 2015.
Members of White Helmets bury their comrades, in Sarmin, 9km east of the Syrian city of Idlib on Saturday (