A special group of Syrian refugees is coming to Canada

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Emergency responders clear rubble with Syria Regional Program-provided heavy machinery following a regime attack in Maaret Nouman, Idleb, in November 2014 (USAID)

Lower in numbers and undercover for protection, Canada is welcoming rescued White Helmets

As reported by Maclean’s on September 25, 2018, Canada plans to accept 26 White Helmets volunteers and 84 of their family members out of a group of 422 Syrians – rescue workers and their relatives, having been evacuated from southwest Syria as a result of a joint international operation prepared and conducted by the U.K., Germany, Canada, Israel, Jordan and the United States earlier, in July.

According to the media source, these 110 people underwent the screening process and were identified by Global Affairs Canada, Immigration and Citizenship Canada and the UN Refugee Agency “as suitable for resettlement in Canada.” They are still held at Camp Azraq in Jordan, waiting for their exit visas from the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From the Canadian side, the majority are getting Canadian visas under combined private and government refugee sponsorship. As stated, the selection was based on their existing connections with Canada, primarily through relatives. And in the three upcoming weeks, these new Syrian refugees are expected to enter the country through Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Halifax.

“Almost all of them have now completed the usual UN Refugee Agency interviews, the refugee “vetting” procedures undertaken by the Canadian Border Security Agency and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the orientation sessions letting them know what to expect when they arrive in Canada, and so on.”

At the same time, in line with the initial information, Canada was going to allow up to 250 rescued Syrian volunteers together with their families to immigrate to the country. Thus, the actual number which is declared in the mass media these days has halved. Meanwhile, the Netherlands affirmed on October 2, 2018, that the country was taking 27 White Helmets rescue workers. There are five families and three individuals among them, writes NL Times. The date of their arrival stays undercover for the security reasons. More than 100 people are believed to be out of Jordan, waiting for their further resettlement in Sweden, the United Kingdom and France. And the destiny of almost 200 White Helmets with their families held is Camp Azraq remains unknown for a broader audience.

In turn, Russia continues to blame White Helmets in Syria for collaboration with terrorist groups in Idlib. Recently, on September 27, 2018, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Vershinin, reassured that Russia had proofs of White Helmets involvement into preparation of a fake chemical attack in the province. However, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, is accusing Russia of telling lies about White Helmets in Syria.

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