North America

Canada to resettle embattled Syrian White Helmets

White Helmets shows what it says is one of its paramedics carrying his wounded son fleeing from the scene of an attack near Damascus. Source: AAP

Some of the famed White Helmets, a group of volunteer humanitarian workers the Canadian government helped rescue from war-torn Syria, have arrived for resettlement in Canada.

Canada is preparing to welcome a group of Syrian White Helmets rescuers.

"Together with a core group of international allies, Canada is working to resettle a group of White Helmets and their families after they had to flee Syria as a result of being specifically targeted by the Syrian regime and its backer, Russia," Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said in a joint statement on Friday.

"As first responders, the White Helmets have witnessed first-hand some of the most appalling crimes committed by the murderous Assad regime.

About 800 White Helmets personnel and their families have been evacuated from the war zone.
About 800 White Helmets personnel and their families have been evacuated from the war zone.
AAP

Canada has supported the work of the White Helmets by helping them to expand, train more volunteers, train more women and save more lives," they said, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In July, following the evacuation of 400 White Helmets from Syria to Israel and then to Jordan, Canada announced that it was ready to accommodate 50 of them and their families, for a potential total of 250 people.

Jordan said Wednesday a group of 279 Syrian rescue workers has left the kingdom for resettlement in Western countries.

Founded in 2013, the Syrian Civil Defense, or White Helmets, is a network of first responders who rescue wounded in the aftermath of air strikes, shelling or blasts in rebel-held territory.

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