‘Samer was small physically, but bigger than life’

This is a letter written by a volunteer rescue worker of the ‘White Helmets’ about his friend who was killed saving lives.

“Dear Friends,

Yesterday my friend Samer died and a person with a heart of gold has gone.

Samer was small physically, but bigger than life. He was a leader; always the first person to run to the ambulance when a bomb hit. Nothing could scare Samer, he just wanted to save people’s lives.

I met Samer when we started to volunteered for the White Helmets [Syrian Civil Defense]. At first he was just a colleague — — I didn’t know anything about him. We got to know each other during the 10 day training program. We worked together, ate at one table, and went to sleep while talking about our lives. Although I only knew Samer for ten days at that point, I felt like we had known each other forever.

Samer was calm, a sweet person with a pure heart. It was always a lot of fun when he was around. He used to tell jokes, and would touch your heart with his kindness. Anyone who worked with Samer said that he was the bravest one there. Everyone looked up to him, his ideals, his work-ethic and his purity.

One day we were extinguishing a fire in an agricultural area that was hit by regime an air strike and we heard the sound of a plane circling the skies. He asked me to lay on the ground, but I did not respond. He asked me several times, but I didn’t do what he said. Suddenly, he grabbed my jacket and pushed me to the ground, and laid next to me. The plane dropped a bomb 25 meters away from us. I wouldn’t been alive if it wasn’t for God’s mercy and the courage of Samer.

After Samer was killed, everything around us became so empty. He was a person who filled emptiness with his smile, humor, and easygoing personality. Everyone used to laugh at Samer’s jokes and the smile that he brought to our faces. His laugh has suddenly disappeared. Every time I enter the civil defence center, I find myself waiting to be welcomed by Samer’s big smile that could light up a room.

The world must know that Samer was killed for saving lives. Samer was trying to rescue injured people when the regime bombed the same place again. He remained in intensive care for about fifteen hours. He wasn’t conscious, and then we heard that he had died.

May God have mercy on him.

Abu Abdullah, White Helmets, Eastern Ghouta

Find out more about the White Helmets: https://www.whitehelmets.org/en