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Syrian army pushes into Quneitra province

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Syrian army pushes into Quneitra province

Netanyahu also revealed on Sunday that Trudeau was one of the world leaders who personally asked for Israel to evacuate roughly 800 of the White Helmets over fears they would be targeted by regime forces.

Syrian state television said Sunday an Israeli airstrike had hit a military post in the city of Masyaf in Syria's Hama province, but caused only material damage.

Israel's Haaretz daily said the evacuees also included orphans who had been injured in the Syrian fighting.

Hundreds of Syrian "White Helmet" rescue workers and their families fled advancing government forces and slipped over the border into Jordan overnight with the help of Israeli soldiers and Western powers, officials said.

While the White Helmets advertise themselves as a humanitarian group and Syria's "civil defense" they operate exclusively in militant controlled areas.

The White Helmets was established as a rescue service in rebel-held areas of the country, where its volunteers have often worked to save people trapped under the rubble of government bombardment.

The latest disagreement arose in a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a senior Russian delegation dispatched to Jerusalem as Syrian government forces routed rebels near the Golan.

The military said its actions did not reflect a change to Israel's non-intervention policy in Syria's war, now in its eight year, where all the warring parties are considered hostile.

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A deal negotiated by Russian officers with rebels in the Quneitra area last week allows safe passage to rebels opposed to a return to state rule, while offering others who decide to stay Russian guarantees against army encroachments in their own localities, rebels say.

"The government gave the permission after 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", it said in an English-language statement.

It marked the first such Israeli intervention in Syria's civil war, now in its eighth year.

A second group of White Helmets and their families has been unable to reach the border, a Canadian government source told AFP.

The source requested anonymity as the Israeli military had yet to carry out a formal investigation.

On Saturday, Russian air strikes killed six civilians in that IS-held pocket, the Observatory said.

During the latest Syrian government offensive, which began on June 19, around 300,000 Syrians have been displaced, heading toward the sealed Israeli and Jordanian borders in what the United Nations said was the largest single displacement since the Syrian civil war started in 2011.

Ghunaimat also said Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Sunday discussed "preliminary ideas" about the possible return of Syrian refugees to their homeland, but that "we can not talk about return while the crisis in Syria is not yet over".

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