Israel has evacuated members of a Syrian civil defence group – said by media to be the White Helmets – from a war zone in south-western Syria.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said they had acted on a request from the US and European nations.
Some 800 people were evacuated to Jordan via the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights overnight, Israeli media say.
The White Helmets describe themselves as a volunteer workforce that acts to save people in Syria’s war zones.
They say they are non-partisan but supporters of President Bashar al-Assad, and his ally Russia, allege links to jihadist groups.
The White Helmets were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.
The evacuated White Helmets had been working in an area controlled by the Syrian opposition in the south-west of the country and had been trapped by a government offensive.
The IDF said they had “completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organisation and their families”, saying there was an “immediate threat to their lives”.
They said the civilians were transferred “through Israel” and “subsequently to a neighbouring country”.
The IDF did not mention the White Helmets by name, nor the country receiving the civilians.
But Jordan’s government confirmed it had “authorised the United Nations to organise the passage of 800 Syrian citizens through Jordan to be resettled in Western countries”.
It said that “Britain, Germany and Canada made a legally binding undertaking to resettle them within a specified period of time due to ‘a risk to their lives'”.
The White Helmet members and their families will be held in a “restricted area” of Jordan.
Despite the intervention, the IDF said that “Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict”.
Who are the White Helmets?
- Began in early 2013 as a volunteer workforce
- Known officially as Syria Civil Defence
- About 200 killed out of more than 3,000 volunteer members
- Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- Act to save people in war zones and carry out repair works on buildings
- Say they are neutral and have no political affiliation but have been accused of links to jihadist groups by the Syrian government and its Russian allies
The Syrian government began a major offensive in June to retake rebel-held areas in the Deraa and Quneitra areas.
Under a number of agreements, rebel forces have been transferred to rebel-held areas in the north of the country, with the Syrian military then moving in to take control.
The latest deal, agreed on Thursday, saw fighters and civilians evacuated from Quneitra province, which borders the Golan Heights.