Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, July 15, 2018. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Justin Trudeau was among those who personnally asked that Israel evacuate hundreds of so-called White Helmets from Syria amid fears they would be attacked by government troops. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ronen Zvulun, Pool)

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

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Canada has offered to take in dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria following a dramatic rescue over the weekend that was orchestrated by the Israeli military and personally encouraged by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Named for their easily recognizable headware, the all-volunteer White Helmets have been lauded and supported by Canada and other Western nations for their role as first responders and humanitarian workers during Syria’s bloody and brutal civil war.

Canada provided the civil organization with $7.5 million over the past two years to help with recruitment and training, with a specific emphasis on women.

But with the Syrian government having regained control of much of the country and moving to wrest back the last of several rebel-held areas in recent weeks, there had been concerns that dozens of White Helmets stranded on the border with Jordan would become targets for Syrian troops.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed Sunday that Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump were among those who asked Israel to rescue the White Helmets, after leaders first talked about how to help the volunteers during the recent NATO summit in Brussels.

READ MORE: Trump returns from summit with Putin to forceful criticism

The ensuing operation saw the Israeli military evacuate hundreds of people to neighbouring Jordan, though the exact numbers were still being determined; Jordanian officials initially said that 800 Syrians were rescued, though that number was later revised down to around 425.

Writing on Twitter in Arabic, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the Syrians were allowed into the country following written commitments that Germany, Britain and Canada would resettle them following the operation.

Canada has offered to host up to 50 White Helmets and their families, a senior official confirmed to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity. With the addition of family members, that could bring the total to around 250 Syrians, though the official said the actual number could be lower.

Exactly when the White Helmets would arrive is unclear; the rescued Syrians are expected to remain in a UN refugee camp for at least three months to allow for processing.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Nuslhiixwta – A Place of Treasures – celebrates new name

After months of thought and deliberation, Healthy Beginnings now has a new name.

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Most Read