Seven White Helmets members shot dead in northwestern Syria

7 White Helmets volunteers shot dead in Syria

7 White Helmets volunteers shot dead in Syria

Unknown gunmen in Syria have killed seven members of the Syrian Civil Defense volunteer rescue organization, known as the White Helmets.

The killings happened in the jihadist-held northwestern town of Sarmin, six miles (9km) east of the city of Idlib.

It was active in rebel-held eastern Aleppo before the territory was seized by forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad.

A spokesman for the Syrian Civil Defence group said gunmen stormed their camp in the town of Sarmin in Idlib province.

The group and opposition activists also revealed that the attackers also stole two vans, helmets and walkie-talkies.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the seven volunteers had all been killed by bullets to the head.

The SCD receives millions of pounds worth of funding from many Western government including the United Kingdom and the US.

"Colleagues came in the morning for the change of shift and found them dead", its director, Rami Abdel Rahman, said.

They have since gained global renown for their daring rescues, often filmed and circulated on social media, and were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

Critics have also claimed rebel fighters, including jihadists, operate in their ranks.

Idlib province in north-western Syria is controlled by Syrian rebels groups.

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