June 13, 2024

Remember Aleppo’s ‘Miracle Baby’?

Mahmoud is now 10 years old, and the White Helmets continue saving lives and rebuilding communities.

This is a message from Khaled Khatib from the White Helmets’ media team. As they continue to save lives in Syria, they need every support possible. Chip in what you can to support them: www.whitehelmets.org 

June 18 marks a significant anniversary for us at the White Helmets. Ten years ago, after 16 hours of searching for survivors in the rubble of a home that the Syrian regime had bombed in Aleppo, our team rescued 10-day-old Mahmoud, whose survival against the odds earned him the name ‘Miracle Baby’.

This moment of unbelievable hope and triumph was captured on video and resonated around the world. For many, the video was the first time they’d heard about our work and it gave us the name the ‘White Helmets’.

The anniversary is a bittersweet memory for us. The hero who rescued Mahmoud, my dear friend and teammate Khaled Harah, was tragically killed in 2016 doing what he did best – saving lives in the aftermath of airstrikes. The way he was killed has since become too familiar to us: double-tap attacks, where the regime’s warplanes return to bomb the site of the attack knowing our first responders will have rushed to rescue civilians. We’ve lost 309 teammates, many of them killed in that same manner. After ten years The White Helmets volunteers continue to save lives and rebuild communities after attacks, but as the spotlight on Syria fades we need more support.

I met Khaled in Aleppo at the beginning of 2014. I used to see him during emergency response operations which I documented with my camera, and with time our bond grew stronger. I got to know how kind and cheerful he was, always joking around and creating funny situations. But when it came to saving lives, he was always among the first to rush to help. He was known among us as the rescuer of children and can be seen in the Miracle Baby video carefully cradling Mahmoud’s little head to protect him from the sharp edges of the rubble. His unwavering courage and compassion inspired us all.

Today, Mahmoud is a thriving 10-year-old, full of life and dreams for the future. I’ve stayed in touch with his family, who have been displaced to Turkey, and seen Mahmoud a few times. He excels in his studies and loves sports, especially the football player Ronaldo.
Mahmoud’s very existence is in part a testament to Khaled’s courage and the tireless efforts of the White Helmets volunteers. Every smile, every milestone Mahmoud achieves is a reminder of the impact that Khaled had and our vision of a bright future for every child.

Since our formation, our teams have saved over 128,000 lives, each of them a miracle. Our work continues because of supporters like you, but ongoing attacks on civilians by the Syrian regime and Russia and substantial funding cuts in 2024 by government donors make our task very difficult.

Please chip in if you can to help us sustain our critical operations, respond to emergencies, support displaced families, and rebuild communities.

Watch the Miracle Baby video here