Israel evacuated hundreds of White Helmets rescuers and their family members threatened by advancing Syrian regime forces to Jordan on Sunday for resettlement in Western countries.

Jordan’s foreign ministry announced in a statement that the kingdom received 422 Syrian citizens, after earlier saying it had given permission for 800 to arrive.

Foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Kayed said Britain, Germany and Canada had initially agreed to accept around 827 rescuers and their relatives, but eventually settled on a figure of 422.

“These are people who save lives and now find themselves in deadly danger, therefore I approved bringing them through Israel to another country as an important humanitarian step,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.AFP

Who are the White Helmets?

Founded in 2013, the Syria Civil Defence, or White Helmets, is a network of about 3000 volunteers who rescue the wounded in the aftermath of air strikes, shelling or explosions in rebel-held territories of Syria and Turkey.

When the Syrian Civil War intensified, volunteers who were a part of regional first response groups decided to come under a single banner, and this led to the creation of the White Helmets.

The main principles followed by the volunteers of the Syria Civil Defence are of ”Humanity, Solidarity, Impartiality”, and they claim to be a neutral organisation.

The organisation claims to have saved the lives of over 1,14,000 people. As many as 204 White Helmet volunteers have reportedly lost their lives during the rescue operations.

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