Syrian rescuers make video on Russia war strategies to help Ukraine's first responders

Film by members of Syria's White Helmets demonstrates how to apply bandages and tourniquets

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Syrian rescue workers well versed in Russia's war strategies have filmed a tutorial video for Ukrainian volunteers on how to treat casualties.

Using a dummy, members of Syria's White Helmets civil defence force demonstrated how to apply bandages and tourniquets in a clip shot in a bombed-out building in the rebel-held town of Ariha in Idlib province, where Russian air strikes are relatively routine.

The video is the latest example of how Syrians are mobilising to share with Ukrainians bitter knowledge gleaned from more than a decade of war involving Russian forces.

“As first responders, we believe that we can share our experiences in Syria with humanitarian aid workers in Ukraine,” volunteer rescuer Ismail Al Abdullah said.

Mr Abdullah told AFP the alleged targeting of schools, hospitals and humanitarian workers by Russia in Ukraine is “sadly too familiar to us”, after years of similar horrors.

In the video, he warns Ukrainian rescuers against “double strikes” in which an initial raid is followed by a second attack that hits after rescuers have gathered at the scene.

Syrian "White Helmets" use a dummy to demonstrate their skills in the film for Ukrainian rescuers. AFP

Mr Abdullah told AFP the aim of the initiative is to produce tutorials that will be translated into Ukrainian and uploaded on the White Helmets' website.

The content is intended to help rescuers and civilians in Ukraine deal with Russia's bombardment strategy, which it developed during the war in Syria.

“We are offering this advice so that Ukrainian rescuers to avoid … casualties,” whether civilians or first responders during rescue missions, he said.

Russia entered Syria's civil war in 2015 on the side of President Bashar Al Assad's regime, allowing Damascus to secure decisive victories in the decade-long conflict.

From besieging cities to shelling civilian infrastructure and arranging so-called “humanitarian corridors”, the strategies Moscow fine tuned in Syria are now being put into practice in Ukraine.

Mr Abdullah advised Ukraine's rescue workers to document their work using GoPro cameras “to safeguard credibility” and shield themselves from the type of smear campaigns that were used to undermine Syria's first responders.

'We lived the experience'

Syrian medical student Mohamed Haj Musa, who appears in the tutorial video, said he hopes the advice will help Ukraine's people “deal with injuries they could see at any moment".

“We lived the experience and saw the victims,” Mr Haj Musa told AFP. He said he hoped his experience could help other first responders “save lives".

Updated: April 12, 2022, 3:56 AM