Assad regime blocks White Helmets evacuation

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The U.S., along with the United Kingdom and other European nations, reportedly asked the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) to help "White Helmet" volunteers escape to Jordan through the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which is located by Israel's border with Syria.

This handout picture released by the Israeli Army on July 22, 2017, shows an Israeli soldier standing guard near a family member of the Syrian White Helmet rescuers at an unknown location.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) have continued to advance and take control of the Quneitra district, leading to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights border, raising concern for Israel, on Sunday.

Russian Federation and Syria must hunt down and prosecute members of the White Helmets for "war crimes", Syria's Grand Mufti has said shortly after Israel "evacuated" a large number of the group's members at the request of the USA and Canada.

Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Kayed says the Syrians will remain in Jordan for three months before moving on to Canada, Britain and Germany.

"The civilians were evacuated from the war zone in southern Syria due to an immediate threat to their lives", the Israeli army said on Twitter. According to their website, the White Helmets claim to have saved more than 114,431 lives in Syria.

The Israeli military said on Sunday that its troops had managed to evacuate members of the "organization" and their families at the direct request of the United States and some "additional European countries".

Civil defense workers in that area turned down requests for an interview about the evacuations of their colleagues in the south calling the matter "too sensitive".

Israel also said it would continue to escalate attacks along its frontier and elsewhere in Syria where it suspects Iranian-backed forces are stationed.

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Syrian authorities have long described the Civil Defense search-and-rescue group, which are popularly known as the White Helmets, as a terror organization.

The group rose to prominence as it filmed its operations to rescue civilians from Syrian government airstrikes in the country's brutal civil war. The military said that did not mean Israel's policy of non-intervention in the conflict had changed. Evacuation plans were accelerated after last week's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels.

Meanwhile, Syrian forces kept up their offensive, pounding the southern tip of the southwestern region where an Islamic State-affiliated group still holds territory.

"This has uncovered the support provided by these states to the terrorist groups in their aggression against the Syrians and in destroying the infrastructure in Syria under false pretexts".

It is not clear if the White Helmets who have been previously evacuated to Idlib from other parts of Syria will receive similar treatment.

Close to one million Syrians are registered with the U.N.'s refugee agency in Lebanon.

Numerous fighters surrendered under Russian-brokered deals and were transported to rebel-held areas in the north of the country.

The source requested anonymity as the Israeli military had yet to carry out a formal investigation.

El Deeb reported from Beirut.