Trump, Trudeau Requested Israel to Pull Out White Helmets From Syria, Netanyahu Says
With some 800 Syrian "White Helmets" safely evacuated to Jordan with Israel's help, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement that the action was "an important humanitarian step" that the country undertook after some urging from Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau, among others.
"In the last few days, United States President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and several others asked for our help in assisting hundreds of Syrian 'white helmets,'" Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office on Sunday, July 22.
"These are people that saved lives and were found in life-threatening danger. I therefore permitted their transfer through Israel to additional countries, as an important humanitarian step," he added, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.
A similar statement was also posted on the PM of Israel's official Twitter handle on the same day. The message accompanied a video of Netanyahu's statement as well.
The Syrian Civil Defense, better known as the White Helmets, is a group made up of volunteers that have made it their mission to rescue Syrians, especially in areas held by rebel forces.
They were widely recognized for their humanitarian missions as well as the unmistakable white hardhats that its members wear. They were also often filmed in the midst of their rescues efforts in areas hard hit by regime airstrikes.
The evacuation was kept secret and was done via the use of minibusses that took group members and their families across the border in the middle of the night, starting at 9:30 p.m. local time.
The Israel Defense Force has aided their exit from conflict areas by escorting around 400 members of the group, along with their families, all the way from Syria to Jordan, according to the Times of Israel. Their passage to other countries, after the three months they are allowed inside Jordan, has been guaranteed by the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany as of this time.