Videos and images continue to flow out of Syria, whose devastating civil war has claimed nearly 300,000 lives—many of which belong to infants and young children. Among the unthinkably horrifying brutality that has all but leveled Syria's largest cities comes this beautiful (yet still heartbreaking) clip of hope.
A Syrian man captured footage of a Syrian Civil Defense Volunteer—known as the White Helmets, they are the first responders for scenes of violence like this—who managed to rescue a one-month-old child from the rubble of a four-story building. The baby's face, smeared with dirt and hair caked in blood, wiggles in his arms. Then she coos and reached for the volunteer's face.
The man, Abu-Kifah, openly weeps as he repeats "Dear God." He, along with a handful of other volunteers, worked for hours to save her and her family from the crumbling building.
A CNN report reveals that Abu-Kifah told a reporter that the girl feels like his daughter. Her family counts itself among the lucky ones—all of them survived. For the work they've done saving thousands of lives since the Syrian Civil War first erupted in 2011, the White Helmets have been nominated for a 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.
It's necessary work in a country that has seen its life expectancy drop 20 years since the war erupted. There is no national or local system for an organized fire department or police system in many Syrian cities, and White Helmets fill that void. In a CNN report that tells of the group's inception, Sanjay Gupta writes:
In the old Western movies, it was easy to tell the good guys and the bad guys apart, by the colors they wore. In Syria, a country bursting with too many men in black hats, James and his 2,600 volunteers want to offer an alternative. A glimmer of hope, of men and women in white helmets.