Syria slams ’criminal’ evacuation of White Helmets by Israel

24 July, 2018, 02:57 | Author: Carlos George
  • Israel evacuates 800 Syria White Helmets to Jordan: Army

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a statement on Sunday that Israel had facilitated the exit from Syria 0f relief workers, known as "white helmets".

"Several days ago President Trump contacted me, as did Canadian Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau, and others, and requested that we assist in evacuating hundreds of "white helmets" from Syria".

Although Israel is not directly involved in the Syria conflict, the two countries have been in a state of war for decades.

Founded in 2013, the Syria Civil Defense, or White Helmets, is a network of first responders who rescue wounded in the aftermath of airstrikes, artillery shelling, and other combat operations in rebel-held territory.

According to their website, the White Helmets claim to have saved more than 114,431 lives in Syria. Syria and Russian Federation deny responsibility for such attacks and charge that documented instances of chemical weapons use have been staged by rebels themselves. The UK, Germany, and Canada will help to permanently resettle these evacuees, reportedly within a three month time period.

For humanitarian reasons, Jordan gave the United Nations permission to organize the passage of Syrians who entered the Occupied Golan after Britain, Germany and Canada presented a legally binding pledge to resettle them after three months.

He said the prospect of regime retaliation has forced the group's members to retreat to safer areas or flee.

The group's motto - "To save one life is to save all of humanity" - is drawn from a verse in the Koran, although the White Helmets insist they treat all victims, regardless of religion.

Israel evacuates 800 Syria White Helmets to Jordan: Army
Jordan to transfer Syria White Helmets to UK, Canada, Germany | Bangkok Post: news

Syrian news agency SANA reported on Sunday evening that an Israeli air strike had hit a military area in Syria's Hama province.

"We commend Jordan's generosity in supporting their processing by UNHCR and the commitment of the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany to provide the White Helmets and their families with permanent homes", it added. The Syrian government considers the group a "terrorist" organization because it works in areas controlled by its opponents, where state institutions and services are non-existent.

Mr Netanyahu previously held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on July 11 amid Israeli concern that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an old adversary, might defy a 1974 demilitarisation deal on the Golan or allow his Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah allies to deploy there.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was quoted as saying that "the efforts of the White Helmets deserve admiration and respect".

"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.

Sirens sounded in northern Israel on Monday morning as the IDF implemented the David's Sling to intercept two SS-21 ballistic missiles, which had been fired as a result of internal fighting in Syria.

Another source familiar with the situation said Islamic State had been able to expand its territory over the last 20 hours by seizing at least 18 villages abandoned by other rebels under the banner of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

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