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LIVE: UN Security Council discusses situation in Syria
U.S. says some militants withdrawing from Syria's Idlib
By white helmets they mean rebels?
I'm hoping British intel and immigration can tell the difference between a rebel and a WH, or a WH who fought with rebels.
Britain has granted asylum to 29 Syrian “White Helmets” civil defence volunteers and up to 70 family members, The Telegraph has learned.
The first family has already been resettled in the UK, while the rest are due to move early next month.
A total of 98 White Helmets and 324 of their relatives were evacuated out of southern Syria through Israel to Jordan in July, in an unprecedented rescue mission conceived by Britain, Germany and Canada, and supported by Israel, Jordan, the US and the United Nations.
The civil defence volunteers, known as the White Helmets for their distinctive white hard hats, operate in rebel-held areas of Syria and act like an informal emergency services, funded in part by the UK government.
They have brought some of the most shocking images of the civil war to public attention, filming rescues which have saved tens of thousands of civilian lives.
The White Helmets are considered terrorists by the Syrian government because of their work in areas controlled by the armed opposition and have been the subject of a major disinformation campaign led by Syria and its backer Russia.
Their headquarters have regularly been targeted by Syrian and Russian jets, in attacks which have have left more than 250 rescuers dead.
They have also faced harassment, arrest and worse in parts of the country retaken by Syrian forces.
Western governments formulated the evacuation plan after the rebel-held areas of Deraa and Quneitra in southwestern Syria began to be surrounded by pro-Syrian government forces, sparking concerns for their safety.
Only Canada has agreed to take in more White Helmet volunteers than the UK. Germany and France will resettle the rest between them.
The US has a ban in place on admitting nationals from seven countries, including Syria, and declined to accept any.
The families have been given temporary housing in camps in Jordan, which already hosts some one million refugees from the neighbouring war and has closed its borders to any more.
They have undergone extensive vetting by British immigration officials using criteria established by the United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR).
They will be processed as “regular refugees” before being handed over to local authorities across the country, The Telegraph understands
"The actions of the White Helmets demonstrate true modern day heroism. They are rightly respected for their courageous, life-saving work and have previously been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize,” Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary, said.
"These brave volunteers have rushed to pull people from the rubble when bombs have rained down on Syria and I'm proud that the UK has led the way in their evacuation and resettlement.”
Penny Mordaunt, International Development Secretary, said the UK would also be exploring how it could "learn from their valuable experience and expertise protecting civilians in need.”
Alistair Burt, Minister of State for the Middle East, met last week with officials from the civil defence in Istanbul and thanked them for their “service, courage and sacrifice which has saved over 115,000 Syrian lives.”
“They must be able to continue their vital work without being targeted by the Assad regime,” he added.
The resettlements are not part of the government’s two official schemes, which have so far accepted 11,000 Syrian refugees and are due to admit another 12,000 more by 2020.