Published: Sun, July 22, 2018

Israel rescues Syrian volunteers stranded in border area

Israel rescues Syrian volunteers stranded in border area

"The civilians were subsequently transferred to a neighbouring country", it said without elaborating.

Israel has evacuated 800 White Helmets volunteer rescuers and their family members threatened by advancing Syrian regime forces to Jordan for resettlement in Britain, Canada and Germany, Amman has said.

"Upon request of the US, Canada and European states Israel has completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organisation ('White Helmets") and families, ' Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted.

US officials had said they were finalizing plans to evacuate several hundred Syrian civil defense workers and their families from southwest Syria as Russian-backed government forces closed in on the Quneitra province.

Founded in 2013, the Syria Civil Defence, or White Helmets, is a network of first responders that rescues wounded in the aftermath of airstrikes, shelling or explosions in rebel-held territory.

"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 Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said the first convoy to reach Morek transported around 2,800 people. Mr Saleh said that a number were trapped between the border with the Golan Heights.

They have been targeted by the Syrian government, and President Bashar Al Assad accused the group of having links to Al Qaeda.

Hundreds of rescue volunteers from the Syrian Civil Defence were evacuated to Jordan by Israel at the request of the United States and European powers.

The White Helmets, officially called the Syrian Civil Defence, operates a rescue service in rebel-held parts of Syria.

Islamic State-affiliated forces entrenched in the Yarmouk Basin, which borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Jordan, also repelled a ground attack by the Syrian army and its allies, the sources added.

Since the offensive began, Jordan said it will not open its borders to the newly displaced Syrians.

More than 650,000 Syrian refugees are registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Jordan but the kingdom says it hosts 1.3 million Syrian refugees.

During the latest Syrian government offensive, which began on June 19, around 300,000 Syrians have been displaced, heading toward the sealed Israeli and Jordanian borders in what the United Nations said was the largest single displacement since the Syrian civil war started in 2011.

Panicked passengers, fearing for their lives, posted pictures of the militia surrounding their buses on social media.

Kayed said those evacuated would stay in "a restricted area" of Jordan until they are transferred to the three countries within three months.

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