Russian foreign minister visiting Israel Monday for Syria talks

Russian foreign minister visiting Israel Monday for Syria talks

Russian foreign minister visiting Israel Monday for Syria talks

Syrian state television said Sunday an Israeli airstrike had hit a military post in the city of Masyaf in Syria's Hama province, but caused only material damage.

The Israeli army said it had evacuated the rescue workers overnight "due to an immediate threat".

CNN reports that one member of the group reached out to them on Sunday, and said: "We are 300 volunteer members and calling upon the countries of UK, Canada, Jordan, America to continue their efforts in evacuating the remaining members of the White Helmets".

Foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Kayed said the kingdom had accepted the members of the Syrian rescue organisation for "purely humanitarian reasons" as their lives had been at risk.

Syrian Civil Defense, the official name of the White Helmets, is a volunteer organization that has worked in rebel areas of Syria providing medical support during the Syrian conflict.

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.

The Syrian regime launched a large offensive in June that has retaken the rebel-held areas in Dara'a and Quneitra bordering Jordan and the Golan. The military said that did not mean Israel's policy of non-intervention in the conflict had changed.

More than 20,000 civilians have escaped bombardment on the IS-held corner in the past 24 hours, fleeing into regime-held areas, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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Two officials familiar with the plans said Thursday that the U.S., Britain and Canada are spearheading the evacuation that would transport members of the White Helmets group to transit camps in neighboring countries.

The White Helmets have financial backing from the U.S., Britain, and other nations.

The group rose to prominence as it filmed its operations to rescue civilians from Syrian government air strikes in the country's brutal civil war.

The source said that the "aggression is an attempt to cover up for the collapse of terrorist organisations in Daraa and Quneitra provinces, as the Syrian Arab Army advances to end the presence of terrorism in the southern region". It provides for the safe passage of residents who do not wish to live under the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

The source requested anonymity as the Israeli military had yet to carry out a formal investigation.

Canada has offered to accept 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.

The White Helmets were taken across the border and then ferried on buses across the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and on into Jordan.

What have Israel and Jordan said?

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