Hundreds of White Helmet volunteers evacuated from Syria

Hundreds of White Helmet volunteers evacuated from Syria

Members of White Helmets, formally known as Syrian Civil Defense, had become trapped in southwest Syria near the Israeli border last week and were rescued by Israeli forces.

The Israeli military in coordination with its USA and European allies evacuated hundreds of Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets from near its volatile frontier with Syria, in a complex and first-of-a-kind operation.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has already said that the group claims to be a humanitarian NGO, but actually supports terrorists and covers up their crimes.

The White Helmets describe themselves as a volunteer workforce that acts to save people in Syria's war zones.

Germany's Interior Ministry confirmed on Monday the country would give asylum to eight rescuers and 39 family members.

The evacuees are being assisted by the United Nations refugee agency in Jordan, pending worldwide resettlement, they said.

But a volunteer in Daraa city, who asked to remain anonymous, said he had chose to stay despite being given the choice to leave.

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Separately Sunday, al-Ikhbariya TV quoted a military official as saying that a military post in the town of Masyaf in Hama province was hit by an Israeli airstrike.

Mohammad Marandi is a political analyst and a professor at Tehran University.

It said they were transferred to a neighboring country, which it did not identify.

The evacuated members of the White Helmets are expected to be resettled in Canada, Germany and some other countries.

Netanyahu said Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others had spoken to him recently asking for help in extracting the White Helmets.

"The lives of these people, who have saved lives, were now in danger".

Jihadists are not party to these deals, and Russian planes bombarded a holdout of the Islamic State group in Daraa province overnight, a Britain-based war monitor said.

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.

Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syriain 1967, in a move never recognised internationally.

German weekly magazine Bild, the first to break the news of the evacuation, quoted German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as saying: "Humanity dictates that many of these courageous first-aiders should now find protection and refuge, some of them in Germany". "We judged that, in these particular circumstances, the volunteers required immediate protection". It was not immediately clear whether that amounted to the same 50 people.

"They are now being assisted by the UNHCR in Jordan pending global resettlement".

Syrian men and civil defense volunteers, also known as the White Helmets, evacuate a victim from a building following an air strike on the village of Maaret al-Numan, December 4, 2016.

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