FILE - In this Wednesday, June 14, 2017, file photo, provided by the Syrian Civil Defense group known as the White Helmets, shows civil defense workers carrying children after airstrikes hit a school housing a number of displaced people, in the western part of the southern Daraa province of Syria. The Israeli military said Sunday it had rescued members of a Syrian volunteer civil organization, known as White Helmets, from the volatile frontier area and evacuated them to a third country, the first such Israeli intervention in Syria's lengthy civil war. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP, File)

Syria blasts evacuation of White Helmets as 'criminal'

July 23, 2018 - 7:19 am

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria's Foreign Ministry has called the evacuation of members of the White Helmets to Jordan a "criminal process" that revealed the role of Israel, the United States and other western allies in propping up what the government considers a "terrorist group."

In a statement Monday, a foreign ministry official called the evacuation a "smuggling operation" that also reveals Israel's involvement in the Syrian war despite its claims to the contrary. The unnamed official said the cooperation of the U.S., Britain, Jordan, Germany and Canada also implicates them in supporting the group.

The overnight evacuation was an unprecedented operation coordinated among those countries to extract over 400 members of the search and rescue group from along the volatile frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, where they were besieged by Syrian troops.

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