Israel evacuates Syrian White Helmets

Israel evacuates Syrian White Helmets

Israel evacuates Syrian White Helmets

That deal was reportedly based on the Separation of Forces Agreement from May 1974 and includes a return of the 90th and the 61st brigade of the Syrian army to positions they held prior to 2011.

The White Helmets, a group of some 3,000 volunteers sponsored by other humanitarian groups in the United States and Canada, provides search and rescue services in response to bombing and evacuations of civilians from danger areas, and also provide food, psychological support and other assistance.

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

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry's spokesman, Mohammed al-Kayed, said the Syrians would remain in a closed area in Jordan for three months.

Canada has offered to accept dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria following a dramatic rescue over the weekend that was orchestrated by the Israeli military and personally encouraged by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry, citing an unnamed official at the ministry, said on Monday that Damascus had previously warned about the risky role the White Helmets were playing in undermining the security and stability in the Arab country and in the region due to their "terrorist nature".

The agricultural area has become the main battleground in the sensitive border region after a major Russian-backed Syrian army offensive routed other rebel groups who were once backed by Washington, Jordan and Gulf states.

The Syrian government, backed by its ally Russian Federation have seized back control of much of southwest Syria, the area where the insurgency against President Assad first began in 2011.

The military said its actions did not reflect a change to Israel's non-intervention policy in Syria's war, where all the warring parties are considered hostile.

The regime considers the White Helmets a "terrorist" organisation because it works in areas controlled by its opponents.

The White Helmets have saved civilians from collapsing buildings after air strikes and been credited with rescuing more than 60,000 people.

The military operation saw the Israeli military slip hundreds of people from Syria to Jordan, though the exact numbers were still being determined; Jordanian officials initially said that 800 Syrians were rescued, though that number was later revised down to around 425.

Israel Defense Forces tweeted Sunday the White Helmets "faced an immediate threat to their lives in Syria".

The group have been taken to Jordan where they have been given temporary asylum.

Jordan's government confirmed it had "authorised the United Nations to organise the passage of 800 Syrian citizens through Jordan to be resettled in Western countries".

Many of these displaced persons are opponents of the Assad-regime and they are "extremely nervous" according to a Syrian humanitarian aid worker in Quneitra.

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