Jordan to allow 800 Syrian civil defense ‘White Helmets’ and families transit to three western countries

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

Jordan confirmed Saturday that it would allow 800 Syrians transit via Jordan to three western countries. Of particular interest is that these are specified as members of the “These Syrian citizens who were working in the civil defense fled the areas controlled by the Syrian opposition after the attack by the Syrian army in those areas. The spokesman added that these Syrian citizens will remain in a specific area closed during the passage through Jordan, which was committed by the three Western countries, the ceiling of three months.”

The statement notes that Jordan has hosted 1.3 million refugees. The passage via Jordan was organized by the United Nations. The Jordan statement comes a day after the AP had a report about “final” negotiations towards this end. The AP reported on Thursday that US officials had been “finalizing plans to evacuate several hundred Syrian Civil Defense workers.”

Meanwhile BILD reported more details. According to a Bild report published Saturday night by Paul Ronzheimer, Giorgos Moutafis and Julian Ropcke around “800 Syrians were transported across the Syrian-Israel border….From there on to Jordan,” the article says. “They are members and families of the famous White Helmets.” Bild says that those evacuated will continue on to the UK, Canada and Germany.  According to Ronzheimer the evacuation was “still ongoing” after midnight between Saturday and Sunday. He tweeted that the UN was involved, although the full details remain largely unknown.

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