Monday, 20 May, 2019


Britain To Take In Some Of The 800 Evacuated Overnight From Syria

Britain To Take In Some Of The 800 Evacuated Overnight From Syria Britain To Take In Some Of The 800 Evacuated Overnight From Syria
Bennie Garza | 22 July, 2018, 21:21

Hundreds of aid workers of the "White Helmet" civil defence group and their families were evacuated from Syria early Sunday in an global operation that transported them through Israel and into Jordan as the forces of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad closed in.

"Fantastic news that we - United Kingdom and friends - have secured evacuation of White Helmets and their families - thank you Israel and Jordan for acting so quickly on our request", tweeted British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The IDF said they had "completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organisation and their families", saying there was an "immediate threat to their lives".

Israel confirmed the evacuation and said that the transfer was an "exceptional humanitarian gesture" done at the request of the "United States and additional European countries".

Jordan had originally said 800 Syrians were evacuated and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi tweeted on Sunday that the original agreement was for 800 but that they later settled at 422.

The operation, the first of its kind, was carried out at the request of the United States and several European countries, all of which provide funding to the White Helmets rescue group.

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.

Israeli media reported that some 800 members of the Syrian rescue organization known as White Helmets and their families were evacuated overnight.

VideoAssad's forces have been making sweeping gains across the southwest of Syria and are now making their move on strong opposition areas on the Golan frontier.

The government and Russian Federation view the White Helmets as "agents" of foreign powers and have regularly accused them of staging rescue missions or chemical attacks.

The request came as the civil defense volunteers were threatened by advancing forces of the Syrian regime in the south of the war-ravaged country, where President Bashar Al-Assad's forces are waging an intensive campaign to retake the last rebel-held pockets of the region bordering both Israel and Jordan.

The White Helmets have rescued thousands of civilians trapped under the rubble or caught up in fighting in battered, opposition-held zones along various fronts of Syria's conflict.

The United Nations helped with the evacuation through the Golan Heights.

More than 650,000 Syrian refugees are registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Jordan but the kingdom says it hosts 1.3 million Syrian refugees.

The latest deal, agreed on Thursday, saw fighters and civilians evacuated from Quneitra province, which borders the Golan Heights.

Numerous fighters surrendered under Russian-brokered deals and were transported to rebel-held areas in the north of the country. In the past two years, the Israeli military says it has delivered more than 1,500 tons of food, 250 tons of clothing and almost a million litres of fuel.

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