Alternative Nobel Prize, Right Livelihood Reward, went to the Syrian civil defense volunteers, “the White Helmets.”
The award is worth €315,000 (£271,184) split between four recipients.
The White Helmets were recognised for “outstanding bravery, compassion and humanitarian engagement in rescuing civilians”.
The group has almost 3,000 volunteers, and claims to have saved 60,000 lives in the Syrian conflict.
The White Helmets are internationally recognised for their rescue efforts, and have been nominated for the “real” Nobel Peace Prize, which will be announced in October.
In a statement announcing the laureates, the award’s organisers said the Syria Civil Defence’s “deep commitment to humanitarian action” had “drawn international attention to the plight of Syria’s citizens and the devastation caused by barrel bombs”.
The CEO of the foundation which presents the reward said the White Helmets volunteers in Syria do voluntary work of saving civilians’ lives in the opposition-held areas where civil rights are considerably restricted. They also support humanitarian relief for people in very difficult conditions.
He also said that these volunteers come after the barrel bombs attacks. They pull people from under the rubble. It is very dangerous as the warplanes usually conduct twin attacks after the gathering of people.
“We give them the reward not only because of their courage and commitment, but also because of their competence and success.
In response to the award, the group tweeted that it was “humbled” and “proud”.
The White Helmets are also the subject of a documentary film released on streaming service Netflix earlier this month.
The Right Livelihood Award is an international award to “honor and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges.
The prize was established in 1980 by German-Swedish philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, and is presented annually in early December.
An international jury, invited by the five regular Right Livelihood Award board members, decides the awards in such fields as environmental protection, human rights, sustainable development, health, education, and peace.