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.


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 30 min 5 sec ago
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Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.