Canada’s commitment to welcome Syrian rescue workers is held under cover
On October 19, 2018, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, issued a joint statement on White Helmets with their families coming to the country after having been rescued in the course of an international operation of Canada, Germany, Israel, Jordan, the U.K. and the United States earlier, in July.
According to the document, a Canadian resettlement policy regarding these Syrian rescue workers is seen as a country’s “moral obligation” going in line with Canada’s previous support of the organization. The entire operation is considered as a way of keeping White Helmets and their families safe, which is why the Canadian government intends not to disclose any precise information upon these Syrians’ arrival to Canada or their location within the country. At the same time, the statement reassures that the rescue workers from Syria are undergoing a proper Canadian screening process in order to define their eligibility to legally enter the country. A total number of people coming to Canada is not specified. The document also reinstates a Canadian position that White Helmets were forced to escape from Syria because of “being specifically targeted” by the Syrian regime and Russia whose alleged crimes they have been eye-witnessing and documenting.
“Canada calls on the Syrian regime – and its backers Russia and Iran – to immediately cease all attacks on civilians in Syria.”
As stated by Jordan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed al-Qatarneh and reported by Reuters on October 17, 2018, 279 of the 422 people having been rescued from Syria and taken to Jordan on July 21, 2018, had already left the kingdom. Ninety three others are expected to leave by October 25, 2018, close to the end of a three-month period as it was initially agreed with the Jordanian authorities. Meanwhile, Majed al-Qatarneh concluded that a smaller group would remain in Jordan until mid-November to finalize their medical checks and treatment.
Russia continues to call White-Helmets pseudo-humanitarians connected to terrorist groups in Syria. During her press-briefing in Moscow on October 17, 2018, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova repeated Russian charges that this Syrian organization was preparing a fake chemical attack in the province of Idlib, was harming civilians for their staged videos, was participating in “the illegal black transplantation market,” etc. In accordance with Maria Zakharova’s information, delays in fulfilment of a three-week resettlement promise are linked to western investigations of these people’s personal records. “It is one thing to commit crimes in Syria, but it is something completely different to go to Europe after what has happened,” concludes the Russian spokeswoman.