Syrian White Helmets evacuated by Israel

24 July, 2018, 22:41 | Author: Angel Logan
  • The White Helmets fight fires and carry out repairs in war zones. * AFP

"They acted exclusively on territories under the control of Islamic radicals, staged blatant falsifications, which were used then as a pretext to raise accusations against the Syrian authorities", the ministry stated.

The rescue workers and their families crossed out of Syria into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights before arriving in Jordan.

The military said its actions did not reflect a change to Israel's non-intervention policy in Syria's war, now in its eight year, where all the warring parties are considered hostile.

However, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and his allies - including Russian Federation - have said they see the White Helmets as proxies of Islamist-led insurgents and Western-sponsored propaganda tools.

The source connected to the rescue operation of the White Helmets into Jordan via Israel told NPR the Syrian government did not offer this amnesty to the rescue workers. "We judged that, in these particular circumstances, the volunteers required immediate protection".

A bus drives near Quneitra at the Syrian side of the Israeli Syrian border as it is seen from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel July 22, 2018.

The White Helmets was established as a rescue service in rebel-held areas of the country, where its volunteers have often worked to save people trapped under the rubble of government bombardment. He did not elaborate on the numbers of those evacuated.

"They were trapped in a risky area and arrived in Jordan now", the volunteer group said.

By Monday morning, Syrian state media was already reporting on the "criminal operation carried out by "Israel" and its tool in the region", claiming that the evacuations "divulged the true nature" of the White Helmets.

The attack comes less than a day after Jordan said 800 people including members of Syria's controversial "White Helmets" opposition group had been evacuated Sunday from southwest Syria with the help of Israel forces.

They were to be transferred to other buses run by local NGOs, before travelling further north to temporary camps in rebel-held areas in Idlib and Aleppo provinces, the Britain-based monitor said. Thousands of civilians had taken shelter near the frontier to escape the government offensive.

Nevertheless, in response, two David's Sling interceptors were fired at rockets for fear they would hit Israeli territory.

"I appreciated the words that were spoken by President Putin together with President Trump regarding the security of Israel during the recent summit", Netanyahu said after the meeting, in remarks relayed by his office.

They were then escorted by Israeli and United Nations forces to a border crossing into Jordan.

The White Helmet members and their families will be held in a "restricted area" of Jordan.

She said the evacuees, more than half of whom are children, were allowed entry into Jordan temporarily.

As Damascus and its allies pursue victory, there appears little chance of the kind of negotiated peace Assad's adversaries say is needed to stabilize the country and encourage millions of refugees to return.


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