White Helmet 'heroes' flee from attacks through Israel

Posted July 25, 2018

Mr Hunt and Penny Mordaunt said in a joint statement: "Following a joint diplomatic effort by the United Kingdom and worldwide partners, a group of White Helmets volunteers from southern Syria and their families have been able to leave Syria for safety".

A senior Western diplomatic source said Moscow, which has reached understandings with Israel and Jordan that made it possible to move on with the offensive, was keen to stabilise the border area to prove that its Syria intervention sought a political settlement to the seven-year-old conflict. "We expect this to be the government's final push to take back all of southern Syria", said Dekker.

A military source said in a statement to Syria's state agency SANA that a military site in Masyaf in Hama countryside was targeted by an Israeli aerial aggression, causing only material damage.

Following the meeting, a senior Israeli official said that Israel had rejected a Russian offer to keep Iranian forces in Syria 100 kilometers (62 miles) away from Israel's northern border, reported Times of Israel.

"Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict and continues to hold the Syrian regime accountable for all activities in Syrian territory", the army said.

The Foreign Office is expected to help resettle the White Helmets and their families.

Writing on Twitter in Arabic, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the Syrians were allowed into the country following written commitments that Germany, Britain and Canada would resettle them following the operation. We therefore took steps with the aim of affording that protection to as numerous volunteers and their families as possible.

Government officials in Damascus said in this connection the White Helmets had links to Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist grouping and were acting in its interests. "The lives of these people, who have saved lives, were now in danger".

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All are volunteers who had different occupations before the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011 spiraled into full-blown civil war.

Numbering about 3,000 volunteers, they also carry out essential fix works.

After the meeting, the White Helmets members still in Syria were told their only option was to be bussed north to opposition-controlled territory under a surrender deal.

The White Helmets have gained worldwide praise, were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize and were the subject of a Netflix documentary and BBC Panorama programme.

Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and supports a number of militias, including Lebanon's Hezbollah, who have thousands of fighters joining battles in support of his rule.

President Assad said it used "humanitarian masks and umbrellas just to implement a certain agenda".

"Since our formation, 251 volunteers have been killed in the line of duty, the majority from "double-tap strikes", the group said. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.

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