To the London Fire Brigade from the Syrian Civil Defence [White Helmets] in Daraa, Southern Syria:

We were saddened to hear about the loss of souls in the Grenfell Tower fire, including Mohammad al-Haj Ali, a Syrian from our home of Daraa who had fled to London seeking safety from death and destruction.  

We appreciate your efforts to search for bodies for days in a row and we feel your pain because this horror is our daily reality. In Daraa, we’re under the heaviest attacks we’ve ever seen in this deadly war. Hundreds of airstrikes have destroyed entire neighbourhoods and fires are everywhere. Just like you, our teams are rushing towards the blazes and we do all we can to rescue the injured.  

The past 16 days have seen 88 people killed and nearly 35,000 civilians displaced from their homes.

A civil defence centre was targeted and destroyed, and 5 volunteers were injured in the bombing -- as you know it’s a terrible thing to see your teammates suffer.

You have been so generous to us, donating equipment to our teams when you met with our teammates in London. We’ve received trainings from British experts in search-and-rescue and firefighting. Who knows, we might have been trained by the same people. And who knows we might also be saving the lives of the friends of Mohammad al-Haj Ali here in Daraa.

We feel we have so much in common. We all risk our own lives to save as many lives as possible as fast as possible. Our hearts are with you and we wish we could help you in your search for victims.  

We send you strength for your mission and we hope to meet you one day.

The Syria Civil Defence [White Helmets] of Daraa