Hundreds of Syrian White Helmets evacuated to Jordan by Israeli army

Jul 23, 2018, 01:11
Hundreds of Syrian White Helmets evacuated to Jordan by Israeli army

Hundreds of Syrian "White Helmet" rescue workers and their families fled advancing government forces and slipped over the border into Jordan overnight with the help of Israeli soldiers and Western powers, officials said.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said they had acted on a request from the U.S. and European nations.

Through videos, pictures, and social media, the White Helmets are widely seen as having played an important role in showing the global community the horrors of the Syrian civil war.

Canada has offered to accept dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria following a dramatic rescue over the weekend that was orchestrated by the Israeli military and personally encouraged by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They have reclaimed the Syrian side of the Jordanian border, and taken back the frontier with the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

They operate mostly in rebel-held territory where almost all civil services have collapsed.

The White Helmet volunteers and their families will be held in a "restricted area" of Jordan and assessed by the United Nations, pending resettlement.

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Eight hundred so-called "White Helmets" and their family members had taken refuge in Quneitra, the one small part of southern Syria not already under the control of Russian-backed regime forces.

VideoIncredibly, this young girl was pulled alive from rubble in the Syrian city of Douma, after intense aerial bombardments.

The Syrian government began a major offensive in June to retake rebel-held areas in the Deraa and Quneitra areas.

Also, the rebel groups in the areas of "Muzayrib" and "Yadouda" in rural Daraa continued to hand over their weapons to the Syrian army, including 7 tanks, 3 armored vehicles and various equipment. "Therefore I approved their passage through Israel to additional countries as an important humanitarian gesture".

Who are Syria's White Helmets?

A Syrian civil defense volunteer, known as the White Helmets, holds the body of a child after he was pulled from the rubble following a government forces air strike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of Karm Homad in the northern city of Aleppo, on October 4, 2016.

Jordan beefs up border defences with Syrian army at frontier
He said the global community should support Jordan and warned that thousands of lives would be lost if urgent action was not taken.

More than 250 White Helmets have been killed in the war since 2013.

The United Nations helped with the evacuation through the Golan Heights.

As such, they have been targeted by government forces.

"We pay tribute to the fearless and selfless work that White Helmets volunteers have done to save Syrians on all sides of the conflict".

He described the White Helmets, who have been accused of cooperating with terrorists and faking chemical attacks as "people who saved lives".

"At a meeting of foreign ministers on the occasion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders' summit in Brussels a week ago, I called for global leadership to support and help these heroes".

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Some 300,000 have been displaced by the fighting, with only a few thousands opting for evacuation to Idlib, which is expected to be the target of the next government offensive.

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