This morning on Twitter, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson confirmed that some 800 White Helmets civil defense volunteers and their families were evacuated from southwest Syria by the IDF Saturday night as their lives were in danger.
“Following an Israeli Government directive and at the request of the United States and additional European countries, the IDF recently completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families,” the tweet reported at 6:32 a.m.
“The civilians were evacuated from the war zone in Southern Syria due to an immediate threat to their lives. The transfer of the displaced Syrians through Israel is an exceptional humanitarian gesture,” the spokesperson continued.
“The civilians were subsequently transferred to a neighboring country. 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.”
On Saturday night, the IDF completed a humanitarian mission to rescue members of the White Helmet organization and their families
Posted by Israel Defense Forces on Sunday, 22 July 2018
According to German tabloid Bild, which broke the story, the White Helmets who were trained and equipped in northern Syria by Israeli Flying Aid in 2013-2014, were brought to Jordan through Israel and are to be resettled in the UK, Canada and Germany with the help of the United Nations.
— Paul Ronzheimer (@ronzheimer) July 22, 2018
Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad al-Kayed was quoted in Jordan’s Ammon News as saying that the rescued Syrian citizens will remain within a restricted area for no more than three months before resettlement in the West.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the IDF and individual Israeli organizations have been closely involved in providing medical care to injured Syrian civilians and transferring tons of urgently needed supplies to internal refugees across the Israel-Syria border via the IDF’s Operation Good Neighbor. In the past week alone, the Israeli military has sent over 72 tons of food, 70 tents and 9,000 liters of fuel as well as other supplies.
Today, UK foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked Israel for facilitating the rescue of White Helmets and their families.
Since the search-and-rescue organization was founded in the second year of the Syrian conflict, the White Helmets have rescued thousands of civilians trapped under the rubble after bombing campaigns in opposition-held zones. More than 200 of its volunteers have died, and another 500 have been wounded.