Looking beyond Idlib towards the whole country, Muzna has a clear message: "We are ready to work anywhere in Syria, also in regime controlled areas. They refuse for political reasons, but we are always ready to serve Syrians no matter where they live." This statement is astonishing given that Assad considers the White Helmets terrorists that must be defeated by force. It speaks to the commitment the White Helmets have to helping civilians anywhere in the country, for example by demining soil that is contaminated with all kinds of weaponry.
This work is ever more urgent because the Russian government has declared Syria the testing ground for their newest military acquisitions. The Russian defence minister proudly declared that over 200 weapons have been tested in Syria. It will require years of work to make the soil safe again. Against this backdrop, the legacy of James Le Mesurier extends further than the people who knew him. It lives on in people like Muzna and the female White Helmets on the ground in Syria, who save lives and help their communities, despite all threats they face.
When a bomb falls in Syria, no fire truck or ambulance will come. The only people who will come and rescue civilians are these volunteers, men and women, and this is the simple truth in this horrible war. In the words of Muzna: "Our work explains our position and our perspective, it speaks for itself. The situation is so desperate inside Syria, we don't have time to explain ourselves all the time, we just keep on working."
© Qantara.de 2020
Anna Fleischer is programme coordinator at the Heinrich Boll Foundation's Beirut office. She is particularly interested in gender justice and grassroots movements, with a special focus on Syria