A mass evacuation in Syria over the weekend has called renewed attention to a group known as the White Helmets that operates in the country. Some basics:
- The group: Formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense, the White Helmets is a largely volunteer network of Syrians who venture out after airstrikes and such in rebel-held areas to help the wounded, explains NPR. They're supported by the US and the UN, though Syria views the White Helmets as a terrorist group. Many know of the group through an Oscar-winning documentary, notes the Wall Street Journal; see the trailer here. By the British government's count, the White Helmets have saved 115,000 lives.
- The evacuation: Hundreds of members of the group were trapped near the Israeli border, hemmed in by Syrian forces and militants allied with the Islamic State, reports the AP. The Israel military, acting on the request of the US, Canada, and European nations, rescued 422 members and their families and got them into Jordan. They will remain in Jordan for up to three months (with Jordan's approval) and then be resettled in Britain, Canada, and Germany.