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Safadi, Lavrov discuss return of refugees

422 Syrians enter Kingdom for short stay until resettlement in UK, Germany and Canada

By JT - Jul 22,2018 - Last updated at Jul 22,2018

AMMAN — Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov discussed the return of Syrian refugees to their country during a phone conversation on Sunday.

According to a Foreign Ministry statement, the top diplomats discussed proposals by Moscow to organise the return of Syrian refugees, emphasising Jordanian-Russian coordination in this regard.  

Safadi and Lavrov also discussed efforts to arrive at a comprehensive political solution to the Syrian crisis that can end the large-scale suffering of the Syrian people and safeguard the territorial unity of their country.

Safadi briefed Lavrov on details related to the entry of around 400 Syrians to Jordan to be resettled in Western countries.   

A total of 422 Syrians entered the Kingdom on Sunday for a short stay not exceeding three months until they are resettled in the UK, Germany and Canada, according to another ministry statement. 

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Kayed said that the UN, London, Berlin and Ottawa have submitted abiding written pledges to Jordan to resettle these Syrians within three months.

He said that the number of Syrians these Western countries have first pledged to resettle was 827 but has been modified to 422, adding that these Syrians are now staying in a closed location until they are resettled in said countries. 

These Syrians, who used to serve in the civil defence apparatus in rebel-held regions, have fled to the Golan Heights frontier following attacks by the Syrian government’s forces, Kayed noted, adding that the permission to allow them into Jordan for a “short stay” has been granted for “humanitarian reasons”.

International press said that the refuge seekers were members of the “White Helmets” civil defence group that has been carrying out emergency rescue operations in rebel-held areas. While the White Helmets group has been hailed in the West for saving thousands of lives, it has been always described by the Syrian government as a Western-sponsored propaganda tool. 

Israel’s military said on Twitter that Washington and European governments had asked Tel Aviv to move the White Helmets and their families out of southwest Syria as there was “an immediate threat to their lives”.

Britain hailed the evacuation of the Syrians to Jordan, saying London and other allies had requested it. 

“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,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Twitter.

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