The UK government confirmed on Monday that it had started “resettling” activists of the White Helmets group and their family members from Syria to the United Kingdom.
The White Helmets “saved the lives of thousands of innocent civilians during the Syrian conflict,” said Home Secretary Sajid Javid, adding he was “proud that the UK is resettling these brave individuals and their families and giving them the opportunity to rebuild their lives here.”
“The White Helmets are true modern day heroes – rushing to save the Syrian people as bombs rained down. The UK is proud to have led the international effort to secure their safety,” – said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
It seems that White Helmets are coming home: the group was set up in 2013 by former British intelligence operative James Le Mesurier, and is funded in part by the US and UK governments. Though calling itself the “Syrian civil defense,” the group has operated exclusively in areas controlled by anti-government rebels, among whom is Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, now called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).