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22 Jul, 2018 15:50

Netanyahu: Trump & Trudeau asked Israel to evacuate White Helmets from Syria

Netanyahu: Trump & Trudeau asked Israel to evacuate White Helmets from Syria

US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Israel to evacuate the members of the controversial Western-backed White Helmets group from Syria, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has revealed.

"President Trump and also Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, as well as others, requested us to help take out from Syria hundreds of White Helmets members,” Netanyahu said in a video address on Sunday.

He described the White Helmets, who have been accused of cooperating with terrorists and faking chemical attacks, as “people who saved lives.”

The members of the controversial group were “under life-threatening danger… I therefore authorized for them to be transferred through Israel to other countries as an important humanitarian measure,” the Israeli PM said.

READ MORE: Israel evacuates White Helmets from Syria to Jordan

Israel evacuated several hundred White Helmet staff and their families from the Golan Heights region in southern Syria to Jordan overnight on Saturday. The initial plan reportedly involved the evacuation of 800 people, but the Jordanian authorities later said that only 422 made it into the country.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, earlier wrote on Twitter that the Jewish state carried out the operation “upon request of the US, Canada and European states.”

Meanwhile, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced that the country is ready to take in at least eight members of the controversial group, along with their families. “I have decided that Germany will accept eight members of the Syrian opposition civil rescue service [known as] the White Helmets as well as their families and will grant them protection,” Seehofer told Bild on Sunday.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also confirmed Berlin’s intention to take in the White Helmets but did not quantify the planned intake. Citing Maas, Bild then reported that the total number of the controversial ‘civil defense activists’ and their family members accepted by Germany could reach 50.

The report explained that German law allows accelerated admission of foreign nationals “on the grounds of international law or urgent humanitarian reasons.” Seehofer has already issued residency permits to those individuals who Germany plans to take in, the media said, meaning that they would not need to apply for asylum upon their arrival on German soil.

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