Syria conflict: White Helmets evacuated by Israel
|bbc.com 22 Jul 2018 at 07:50|
Despite the intervention, the IDF said that "Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict".
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".
The White Helmet volunteers and their families will be held in a "restricted area" of Jordan and assessed by the UN, pending resettlement.
Jordan said that "Britain, Germany and Canada made a legally binding undertaking to resettle them within a specified period of time due to a risk to their lives ."
The UK confirmed it would help with the resettlement, providing protection to "as many of the volunteers and their families as possible".
A statement from Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: "White Helmets have been the target of attacks and, due to their high profile, we judged that, in these particular circumstances, the volunteers required immediate protection.
"We pay tribute to the brave and selfless work that White Helmet volunteers have done to save Syrians on all sides of the conflict."
Fantastic news that we - UK and friends - have secured evacuation of White Helmets and their families - thank you Israel and Jordan for acting so quickly on our request. The WH are the bravest of the brave and in a desperate situation this is at least one ray of hope
Their official name is the Syrian Civil Defence and it began in early 2013 as an organisation of volunteers from all walks of life, including electricians and builders.
Its main task soon became to rescue civilians in war zones in the immediate aftermath of air strikes, and it says its volunteers have saved the lives of more than 100,000 people during the civil war.
Image caption The White Helmets fight fires and carry out repairs in war zones
Numbering about 3,000 volunteers, they also carry out essential repair works. Some 200 members have been killed.
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 .