The UK is to offer asylum to members of western-backed White Helmets group, that operates in Jihadists-held areas in Syria. The move has prompted dire warnings about who exactly Britain might be admitting.
Some 98 White Helmets members were rescued by the Israel Defense Forces on Saturday night, as part of an evacuation mission that saw a total of 422 people collected from Syria and transferred across Northern Israel and into Jordan at three points, the Guardian reports.
The paper claims that the UK is prepared to offer asylum to up to 500 White Helmets members or relatives of the group, officially known as the Syria Civil Defence. The proposed resettlement of members of the group has divided opinion.
Critics of the move have raised doubts around the White Helmets' legitimacy as a human rights organisation, accusing them of containing within their ranks jihadists who are now set to be welcomed to Britain.
There are those such as UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt who has heaped praise on the organization – which is funded heavily by the UK government – claiming Saturday night's evacuation carried out by Israel was "fantastic news" as the White Helmets were the “bravest of the brave.”
Fantastic news that we - UK and friends - have secured evacuation of White Helmets and their families - thank you Israel and Jordan for acting so quickly on our request. The WH are the bravest of the brave and in a desperate situation this is at least one ray of hope
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 22, 2018
Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan-turned blogger Craig Murray has not been so glowing about the prospect of White Helmets members being granted resettlement in Britain.
He told his social media followers: “They may be jihadists but they are our jihadists.” Fascinating that the ‘White Helmets’ are being brought straight to the UK with families when the Afghan and Iraqi military interpreters were not. The British government does not do this from humanity or obligation."'
Read more: ‘They may be jihadists but they’re our jihadists’: White Helmets' UK resettlement policy attacked