Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets, their families from Syria

Hugh Fox
July 24, 2018

The unprecedented operation was spearheaded by the U.S., Canada, and Britain, The Associated Press reported on Friday.

The volunteer group - officially known as Syria Civil Defense - was formed in 2013.

The search and rescue team has long claimed neutrality, but Syria, Russia and Iran dismiss the group as a propaganda arm of the rebels. The plan had been to evacuate 800 White Helmets and their families, but only 422 could be extracted.

The White Helmets' evacuation proves that where the will exists, a collective commitment by countries to protect Syrian civilians makes an immediate and tangible difference.

The Syrian government has accused the White Helmets, also known as Syria Civil Defence, of being a Western-sponsored terrorist organisation.

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The source added "It has become unacceptable anymore to hold any meeting or discussions at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) or at any worldwide organizations to discuss their false allegations on the use of chemical weapon in Syria because there are not chemical weapons in Syria which hopes that the concerned global organizations will combat terrorism and that the OPCW will correct its stances and image which have been deeply affected after disclosing the true destructive role played by the "White Helmets" and others".

They were then taken to Jordan and will be resettled to western nations including France, Britain, Germany, and Canada.

On Sunday, Syrian state television said that an Israeli air strike had hit a military post in the city of Misyaf in Syria's Hama province, causing material damage.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday for talks on Iran and the conflict in neighboring Syria, the premier's office said.

Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, described the operation as "a massive multinational and worldwide effort, with the United Nations involved to get this under way".

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When Israeli sensors realised they would land on the Syrian side, David's Sling was given an abort order for the interceptors to self-destruct in mid-air. Syrian government forces and Russian allies have been fighting an offensive against Syrian rebels in the area. While Israel has not moved to stop the Syrian military's advance, it has continued to launch airstrikes against targets it says were Iranian or Iran-backed, including two attacks last week that were reportedly in response to Syrian drones flying into the Israel-controlled territory.

Several hundred Syrian rescuers remain trapped in the country's south with no escape from approaching regime troops, two of them said Monday after a secret evacuation saved many of their colleagues. "There is no deal on the table with them", she added, explaining that deals reached with other groups saw the evacuation of rebels to northern parts Syria.

"When children, women, and men in Syria flee for their lives, the White Helmets run towards danger, towards the rubble, to save the innocent and the wounded".

The U.S. State Department said in a statement it welcomed the operation. Caty Weaver was the editor. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

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