Jordan says nearly 300 Syrian ‘White Helmets’ leave country for West

In July the rescue workers, fleeing advancing Russian-backed Syrian government troops. (AFP)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Jordan says nearly 300 Syrian ‘White Helmets’ leave country for West

AMMAN: Around 300 Syrian “White Helmet” rescue workers who fled Syria for Jordan three months ago have now left for resettlement in Western countries, a Jordanian foreign ministry statement said on Wednesday.
In July the rescue workers, fleeing advancing Russian-backed Syrian government troops, slipped over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights frontier and into Jordan, with the help of Israeli soldiers and Western powers.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time he had helped the evacuation at the request of US President Donald Trump and other leaders and that there had been fears that the rescue workers’ lives were at risk.
Jordan had accepted them after getting guarantees their stay would be temporary and they would be given asylum in Canada, Germany and Britain, Jordanian officials said.
The “White Helmets,” known officially as Syria Civil Defense, have been credited with saving thousands of people in rebel-held areas during years of bombing by Syrian government and Russian forces in the country’s civil war.
Its members say they are neutral. Syrian President Bashar Assad and his backers describe them as tools of Western propaganda and Islamist-led insurgents.


US deploys 1,500 more troops to Middle East as Pentagon blames Iran's guards for tanker attacks

Updated 8 min 41 sec ago
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US deploys 1,500 more troops to Middle East as Pentagon blames Iran's guards for tanker attacks

  • Donald Trump says the additional troops would serve a 'mostly protective' role
  • The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region earlier this month

WASHINGTON:  Donald Trump said Friday the US will send 1,500 extra troops to the Middle East in a "mostly protective role" amid heightened tensions with Iran.

"We want to have protection in the Middle East. We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective," Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Japan.
"Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we'll see what happens."

Officials said earlier that members of Congress were notified following a White House meeting Thursday to discuss Pentagon proposals to bolster the US force presence in the Middle East.
Earlier this week, officials had said that Pentagon planners had outlined plans that could have sent up to 10,000 military reinforcements to the region. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan later said planners had not settled on a figure.
The US began reinforcing its presence in the Arabian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.

More to follow...