BREAKING NEWS : Allen County Councilman Joel Benz plans to accept TRAA executive director position Full Story

White Helmets evacuated into Jordan by Israel

Around 800 Syrians, including members of the White Helmets rescue group, have been evacuated to Jordan via Israel in a massive humanitarian operation coordinated by the United Nations.

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 3:46 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 3:53 PM

As many as 300 White Helmets are still trapped in Syria after an Israeli evacuation Sunday of hundreds of the rescue workers and their family members, according to a member of the group who left CNN a series of voicemails on the situation.

"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," the rescue volunteer, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Muhanad, told CNN on Sunday. "Help us and save our lives."

Abu Muhanad said the remaining volunteers and their families were unable to reach the evacuation point in southern Syria because roads were blocked as a result of fighting in the area between Syrian forces and ISIS affiliate Khalid ibn al-Walid. That fighting has intensified in recent days as Syria tries to eradicate the last remaining ISIS pockets in the southern part of the country.

US, some European countries requested evacuation

The Syrians evacuated Sunday were transferred to Jordan via Israel, at the request of the United States and some European countries, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement after the operation. Israel described the move as an "exceptional humanitarian gesture," adding that it "continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict."

A number of those evacuated were from the White Helmets volunteer rescue group, known as the Syrian Civil Defense.

The Syrian regime described the Sunday evacuation of White Helmet volunteers with Israeli assistance as a "criminal operation" that has revealed "the terrorist nature" of the group, the official news agency SANA reported Monday, quoting an unnamed foreign ministry official.

The transferred Syrians will remain in a restricted area in Jordan for the time being, Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Mohammad al-Kayed told the Jordanian state-run Petra news agency, before onward transfer to Britain, Germany and Canada within the next three months.

Jordan had originally said 800 Syrians were evacuated and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi tweeted on Sunday that the original agreement was for 800 but that they later settled at 422.

"For humanitarian reasons, Jordan gave the United Nations permission to organize the passage of Syrians who entered the Occupied Golan after Britain, Germany and Canada presented a legally binding pledge to resettle them after three months," Safadi tweeted Sunday. "The number requested was 800 but the actual number settled at 422," he added.

Remaining White Helmets in danger

"We are still in danger," Abu Muhanad told CNN. "Saving lives is the biggest crime we are charged with; now we are called terrorists because we save lives."

He says they are between a rock and a hard place: considered "terrorists" by the regime, they don't have any bargaining chips, unlike the rebels, who have their weapons. Moreover, now that Israel has helped the evacuation, they face a new charge of being "collaborators with Israel."

Through videos, pictures, and social media, the White Helmets are widely seen as having played an important role in showing the international community the horrors of the Syrian civil war. Their volunteers have gone into war-stricken areas, searching for survivors, winning them support from many countries, including the United States.

The White Helmets "used to see death while doing our work saving lives from underneath airstrikes and barrel bombs. Now we see death in a different way -- not knowing what will happen to us," the volunteer added.

Canada will resettle up to 50 White Helmets and their families, a Canadian official with direct knowledge of the resettlement efforts told CNN. The total number of people could be over 200, nearly half of the Syrians evacuated into Jordan on Sunday.

However, taking 50 families may not be necessary as there have been multiple offers from allies to resettle the volunteer rescuers, according to the official.

Germany said Monday they would be taking eight White Helmet refugees. The UK confirmed to CNN they will offer asylum to some of the rescue workers but have not given any numbers.

"The ongoing military offensive and ever greater territorial gains by the Syrian regime in southern Syria have created a clear and present danger for the White Helmets and their families," German Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer said in a statement Monday.

"These people, who have risked their lives to aid and rescue the civilian population, and to reduce their suffering, are now themselves in need of help. Granting them protection is, I believe, a humanitarian duty and an expression of my policy to uphold humanity and order in migration policy. "

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 44°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 52°
Huntington
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 44°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 44°
Van Wert
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 53°
Sunshine and warmer air return to round out the work week, but the warm-up is brief.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events