Syrian 'White Helmets' flee to Jordan

A Syrian rescue worker carries a man wounded during shelling of the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta town of Hammuriyeh on March 7

Israel evacuates 800 Syrian 'White Helmets' to Jordan

The Israeli military said that overnight it had completed "a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families.due to an immediate threat to their lives".

Raed Saleh, head of the Syrian Civil Defence as the White Helmets are also known, said a number of volunteers and their families were evacuated from a risky, besieged area and had reached Jordan.

Top Photo | An explosion is pictured at Quneitra at the Syrian side of the Israeli Syrian border, as seen from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel July 22, 2018.

On Sunday, a Jordanian foreign ministry spokesperson said the kingdom had allowed the United Nations to arrange the entry and passage of 800 Syrian civil defence workers and their families.

The Syrian government on Monday (Jul 23) condemned the evacuation of hundreds of Syrian White Helmet rescue workers who fled the country with help from Israel into Jordan, calling it a "criminal operation" undertaken by "Israel and its tools".

Rescue workers have previously been targeted by the Syrian government and its allies during evacuations from areas subject to reconciliation agreements between rebel groups and the Syrian government, raising concerns among Civil Defense supporters as the final battle for the south took hold.

They are expected to be resettled in the UK, Germany, and Canada.

"We are making pleas for humanitarian reasons to evacuate the rest in Deraa", he continued, referencing the neighbouring province to Quneitra.

I have, in the past, spoken to Syrian officials who claimed the White Helmets had links to MI6, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Gulf States - they were, it was claimed, a conduit for weapons and "terrorist" resistance against President Assad.

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Its members, known for their white helmets, say they are neutral.

Russian Federation has been exerting pressure on the Syrian army to facilitate the return of numerous displaced and has also asked the United Nations to send regular convoys of aid to ease the humanitarian crisis triggered by the offensive, UN officials said.

The rockets fell inside Syrian territory and were part of internal fighting, a military statement said.

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.

The White Helmets describe themselves as a volunteer workforce that acts to save people in Syria's war zones. The group would be linked to a U.S. -Russian-Jordanian center set up previous year in Jordan for monitoring a cease-fire in southwest Syria, said Major-General Milkahil Mizintsev.

There is also video evidence of White Helmets "assisting" with a public execution by taking a man's body away from the scene after he was shot dead.

"Jordan is willing and encouraging the return when tension calms down because the refugees constitute a heavy burden on the kingdom in the light of the global community's inability to cover the costs", she said.

The source said numerous rescuers and their families had made unsafe journeys across a war zone to reach the evacuation point.

Also Monday, Israel said it fired a pair of missiles to intercept two missiles fired from Syria in Israel's direction.

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