On September 20, 2018, I managed to enter a still-operating White Helmet center in Daraa Al Balad, south of Damascus, and interview White Helmet members as they continued to work in areas still under the control of armed groups during ongoing Russian-brokered reconciliation talks. One of the White Helmets, Abu Mohanad Al Mahamid, told me:
There are some [armed] factions connected with Israel; those factions were gathered by Israel in Quneitra and were told that you will [they would] leave with the White Helmets. By the way, the number of White Helmets in the southern area is 635, but those who left were 800. This means that there are [armed] factions who work with Mossad and they were extracted alongside the White Helmets" Not all those who left were White Helmets; there were people who left from Quneitra. There were terrorists; some left from the Yarmouk Basin."
When asked to clarify who the terrorists from Yarmouk Basin were, Al Mahamid confirmed that they were ISIS fighters.
During the dramatic evacuation of the White Helmets, former U.K. Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford responded to a statement issued by U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Ford raised a number of questions regarding the extradition of the White Helmets, perhaps one of the most pertinent being this:
Might the British government have been afraid of this particular group being caught and interrogated, revealing perhaps the truth about alleged chemical weapons incidents?"
In December of 2018, Jordanian Member of Parliament Tareq Khoury demanded that the "dregs of White Helmets" still in Jordan be extradited as traitors to their homeland to face justice inside Syria.
"It is known they are traitors," he said, adding:
Who orchestrated this exceptional rescue?
Treason is a shameful and disgraceful act. Whoever betrays his homeland and his people will not spare the homeland of others. There are many stories throughout history in which traitors are eliminated by their operators when their dirty missions against their homelands are finished" I urge the Jordanian government to hand over those remaining [White Helmets] to the Syrian state to try them for betraying their homeland."
When the pedigree of those behind the White Helmet evacuation is more closely examined, Israel's outsized role in the promotion and protection of the internationally financed group becomes more even more apparent.
Rewind to the hatching of the White Helmet "rescue" plan. On July 24, 2018, The Globe and Mail ran a story headlined: "How Canada's woman in Istanbul began the daring rescue of the White Helmets." The article outlines how White Helmets leader Raed Saleh approached Robin Wettlaufer, Canada's Istanbul-based special envoy to Syria, for help.
Saleh has a history of being refused entry to the U.S. He was turned back at Dulles Airport in 2016 because of his suspected ties to extremist groups in Syria. This inconvenient fact was wiped from his immigration slate by former Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry and Saleh was subsequently allowed to enter the United States in September 2016. Kerry met Saleh during a closed-door session at the U.N., where the then-secretary of state had convened a meeting with members of the Syrian opposition, including members of armed groups. Incidentally, it was during these talks that Kerry famously admitted to the Obama administration's support for ISIS in Syria in leaked audio published by the New York Times.
According to the Globe and Mail, Canada was being "hailed for its leadership" of the White Helmet rescue mission. Chrystia Freeland, Canadian foreign minister and former Globe and Mail editor, used a July NATO summit in Brussels to issue a plea on behalf of the White Helmets, which persuaded both Germany and Britain to accept a number of the high-profile "refugees."