Israel Evacuates Syria's 'White Helmets' to Jordan

Israel Evacuates Syria's 'White Helmets' to Jordan

Israel Evacuates Syria's 'White Helmets' to Jordan

A Jordanian foreign ministry spokesman confirmed to Reuters that the civilian workers were transferred to his country.

"The civilians were subsequently transferred to a neighbouring country", it said without elaborating.

"The Jordanian government said it had authorised the United Nations to organise the passage of 800 Syrian citizens through Jordan to be resettled in western countries", the kingdom said.

The original plan had been to evacuate 800 people, but only 422 made it out as operations were hampered by government checkpoints and the expansion of Isil in the area, another source said. The evacuation was done overnight Saturday.

This was the first such Israeli intervention in Syria's lengthy civil war, now in its eighth year.

Russian military police have also entered rebel-held towns as part of guarantees given by the Russians that the army and its allied militias do not take revenge against civilians and former fighters, rebel officials said.

As the lines dividing those zones have solidified, large numbers of people living in them have been moved, further exacerbating the crisis that has displaced more than half of Syria's population.

The Associated Press first reported on Friday that US officials were finalizing plans to evacuate several hundred Syrian civil defence workers and their families from southwest Syria as Russian-backed government forces closed in on the Quneitra province, along the Golan Heights frontier. They are credited for saving thousands of lives.

White Helmets activists fled from Syria's southern regions where government troops are finishing an operation against armed groups.

400 White Helmet volunteers and their families have been evacuated from southwest Syria to Jordan via Israel to await new lives in the United States of America and Europe.

Israeli media identified the Syrians as belonging to the White Helmets organization.

It is not clear if the White Helmets who have been previously evacuated to Idlib from other parts of Syria will receive similar treatment.

A second film on the group, named "Last Men in Aleppo", was nominated for an Oscar in 2018.

The Syrian government accuses the group of cavorting with terrorists and of staging footage of their operations to garner sympathy and demonize the government.

"We are 300 volunteer members and calling upon the countries of UK, Canada, Jordan, America to continue their efforts in evacuating the remaining members of the White Helmets", the rescue volunteer, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Muhanad, told CNN on Sunday.

It was feared that they would be persecuted by advancing government forces in southern Syria.

The White Helmets are sponsored by humanitarian groups mainly in the United States and Canada and works in Syria to provide food, psychological support and other assistance. "These people have been saving lives for the past five years".

"At the same time we are also taking action in the south".

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