Israel evacuates hundreds of Syria's White Helmets to Jordan

GPOPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Russian delegation in Jerusalem

GPOPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Russian delegation in Jerusalem

The call came on Saturday night.

The White Helmets is a network of first responders which rescues the wounded in the aftermath of air strikes, shelling, or explosions in rebel territory across Syria. They have reached Jordan, thank God. One woman went into labour on the journey.

But a similar number remain trapped in southern Syria.

"Words of condemnation are not enough to express the indignation that every Syrian feels towards these despicable conspiracies and the limitless aid from Western countries, Israel, and Jordan to the White Helmets", the source said.

"Given the speed of the movements on the ground it really was a Hail Mary operation", he said.

Another almost 400 people were meant to be pulled out as well. Islamic State (IS) and other militant groups have also been involved in the fighting but have mainly been driven from their strongholds.

The US praised Israel and Jordan for facilitating the evacuations and Britain, Canada and Germany for agreeing to give the evacuees new homes.

This was the first such Israeli intervention in Syria's lengthy civil war, now in its eighth year.

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The group was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for its humanitarian efforts.

But Syria's government and its ally Russian Federation have accused the group of links to jihadist groups.

Those successfully evacuated included about 100 White Helmets, with the rest family members.

Still formally at war with Syria, Israel has periodically waded into the conflict to curtail Iran's growing influence in the region or deal with spillover from battles along its border.

Numbering about 3,000 volunteers, they also carry out essential fix works. Evacuation plans were accelerated after last week's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels.

The attack is the latest in a string of Israeli offensives on Syrian military sites in Syria. United States officials said the volunteers at the border were likely to be targeted by the government advance.

It is not clear if the White Helmets who have been previously evacuated to Idlib from other parts of Syria would receive similar treatment.

The Israeli government signaled it would not impede the Syrian army presence in Quneitra as long as Syrian forces steered away from a demilitarized zone along the border.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday (Jul 23) praised President Donald Trump's "tough stand" against Iran after the U.S. leader issued a stark warning to the Islamic republic.

"The White Helmets have witnessed vicious atrocities committed by the Assad regime and its backers", she said in a statement, adding "Canada has been a key partner of the White Helmets and is proud to have provided funding to support their emergency training and to increase the number of women White Helmets".

Locating the volunteers in the quickly shifting battlefield was a challenge. "Yesterday's evacuation through Israel only made things worse".

There was an unexpected twist, too.

Regime forces have now regained control of most of the two provinces through a combination of deadly bombardment and Moscow-brokered surrender deals. This changed the landscape again, blocking some escape routes to the evacuation points. The small window was quickly closing.

The rescue workers and their families crossed out of Syria into the Golan Heights before arriving in Jordan over the weekend.

Also on Sunday, hundreds of Syrian "White Helmet" rescue workers and their families fled advancing government forces and slipped over the border into Jordan with the help of Israeli soldiers and Western powers.

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