Jordan to transfer Syria White Helmets to UK, Canada, Germany

Hundreds of Syrian 'White Helmets' evacuated by Israel to Jordan — reports

The Syrian government deemed it a "criminal operation" undertaken by "Israel and its tools".

Earlier this month, CBS News broadcasting service said in a report that the issue of the White helmets' withdrawal from Syria had been raised with US President Donald Trump in multiple conversations with allied countries on the sidelines of the July 11-12 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels. The relatives of the fallen soldiers were invited to visit Syria by President Bashar Assad.

But Syria's government and its ally Russian Federation have accused the group of links to jihadist groups. The Observatory said two buses carrying evacuees were held up by a pro-Syrian government militia, apparently after they went off road.

The White Helmets describe themselves as a volunteer workforce that acts to save people in Syria's war zones.

How and why was the operation carried out?

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

The White Helmets volunteers had been stranded along the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Syrian forces, backed by a Russian air campaign, have been pushing into the edges of Quneitra province following a relentless aerial bombardment campaign last month that routed rebels in adjoining Deraa province.

It said they were transferred to a neighboring country, which it did not identify.




Netanyahu held talks with Putin in Moscow on July 11 amid Israeli concern that Assad, an old foe, may defy a 1974 demilitarization deal on the Golan or allow his Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah allies to deploy there.

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. Islamic State (IS) and other militant groups have also been involved in the fighting but have mainly been driven from their strongholds.

The statement, however, did not mention the group by name at the time, but German tabloid Bild said some 800 members of the "White Helmets" were expected to be brought to Jordan through Israel to be reportedly resettled later in the UK, Canada, and Germany.

"The White Helmets have saved over 115,000 lives during the Syrian conflict, at great risk to their own".

The Syrian civil war began in March 2011.

Raed Saleh, the head of the Syrian Civil Defense, as the White Helmets are formally called, confirmed the evacuations took place but would not elaborate on the numbers of people who got out.

Numbering about 3,000 volunteers, they also carry out essential fix works. Around 200 have been killed.

The White Helmets have gained worldwide praise, were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize and were the subject of a Netflix documentary and BBC Panorama programme. Both Moscow and Damascus have accused the White Helmets of staging rescue missions and chemical attacks to blame on the government.

The White Helmets work exclusively in rebel-held areas and receive donations from several Western governments, including Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States.

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