Israel Evacuates Syria White Helmets Volunteers to Jordan

26 July, 2018, 01:34 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • H8 syria white helmets israel

Assad's forces recently overwhelmed rebel areas bordering Jordan and Golan Heights, Syrian territory occupied by Israel.

The U.S. State Department welcomed the rescue of "these fearless volunteers" and cited the United Nations, Israel and Jordan for helping with the operation.

Air strikes by regime ally Russian Federation, meanwhile, on a southern jihadist holdout killed six civilians, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

Israel has also said it would demand strict adherence to the 1974 disengagement deal with the Syrian army on the Golan, threatening a "harsh response" to any attempt by Syrian forces to deploy in that zone.

Huge plumes of smoke could be seen from the occupied Golan Heights just across the fence in Syrian territory as government and Russian forces launched air strikes and tanks shelled the area.

The offensive, which began in June, has seen a number of agreements that have led to the evacuation of rebel forces from the Deraa and Quneitra areas to regions further north.

The UK is to offer asylum to members of western-backed White Helmets group, that operates in Jihadists-held areas in Syria.

The Israeli military carried out the overnight rescue, reportedly bringing the first responders over the Golan Heights and into Jordan.

Israel had originally calculated numbers evacuated at 800, but that figure was revised downwards by former MI5 officer James Le Mesurier, recognized as the founder of the White Helmets which he formed in Turkey in 2013.

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The BBC's Mark Lowen said that others had been hemmed in by the expansion of the Islamic State group into pockets of south-west Syria and, as this was a one-off operation, fears remain for the fate of those left behind.

Hundreds of rebel fighters and their families arrived Saturday in northwestern Syria after their evacuation from a southern province under a deal with the regime.

"The Russians are speaking about [the 100km buffer zone] and are committed to it, but we said there are also long-range weapons beyond this zone, and all those forces must leave Syria", the official said.

The Israeli military said on Sunday that its troops had managed to evacuate members of the "organization" and their families at the direct request of the United States and some "additional European countries".

Monday's incident came after Israel earlier this month, twice in the same week, fired a Patriot missile at an unmanned aircraft that approached the country's border from Syria.

Despite the intervention, the IDF said that "Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict".

On Saturday, Canada said it was working with the United Kingdom and Germany to "ensure the safety of the White Helmets and their families".

"The government gave the permission after Britain, Germany and Canada made a legally binding undertaking to resettle them within a specified period of time due to "a risk to their lives", it said in an English-language statement.

"We therefore took steps with the aim of affording that protection to as numerous volunteers and their families as possible".

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