Canada said Israel’s role in saving the lives of White Helmet rescue workers and their families was “indispensable,” although the group itself failed to acknowledge the IDF mission.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, Canada’s Deputy Head of Mission Anthony Hinton said Israel’s role was “indispensable” in saving the lives of the White Helmet humanitarian assistance workers and their families in Syria.
“From Canada’s perspective, Israel’s role was indispensable… there was no way to save these Syrians without Israel’s coordination, collaboration and leadership,” Hinton, who was acting ambassador during the operation, said in a telephone interview with the Post.
“The IDF were the ones who made it happen on the ground,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, in an official statement released on Monday about the rescue, the Syrian White Helmets did not mention Israel at all, the Post reported.
“Ninety-eight male and female White Helmet volunteers, with 324 of their family members — mostly women and children — have arrived in Jordan through the occupied Syrian Golan Heights,” the statement read.
“The UNHCR participated in the coordination of the agreement to resettle the 422 rescue workers and their family members.”
Over the weekend, following the request of the US and a number of European countries, the IDF carried out the rescue mission.
The civilians were evacuated from the war zone in southern Syria due to an immediate threat to their lives posed by the Assad regime, which had declared the rescue and aid group a terror organization and claimed it was involved in anti-Assad actions.
They were subsequently transferred to Jordan, from where they will move on to European countries or Canada.
“The transfer of the displaced Syrians through Israel is an exceptional humanitarian gesture,” the IDF stated.
The US praised the IDF for its professionalism in carrying out the lifesaving mission.
“The Israel Defense Forces deserve special commendation for this – they managed to pull this operation together quickly and were focused on saving as many people as possible. Thank you as well to the Government of Jordan for their efforts,” Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special Mideast envoy, tweeted Sunday.
In a news report on the rescue mission, a CBS news anchor said: “It is a credit to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel who allowed them safe passage through the Golan Heights to get to Jordan.”
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