Since the overnight Saturday and into early Sunday Israeli military operation which successfully evacuated White Helmets members and their families from southwest Syria at the request of the US and European governments, new details and footage have emerged.
First, what we find most striking and woefully under-reported in international media is that the fact that armed groups immediately set fire to Quneitra crossing on the Syrian side of the border the morning just after the White Helmets passed through it to the Israeli side.
The post acts as the only crossing between Syrian territories and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and was formerly run by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). There is over a mile in distance between the Syrian and Israeli sides of the crossing.
Middle East-based Al Masdar News reported Monday that the crossing was used by Nusra militants (also called Jabhat Fatah al-Sham/JFS, or Syrian al-Qaeda) to store weapons, ammunition and various supplies provided by Israeli Army, suggesting that its destruction by al-Qaeda and FSA fighters may have been an attempt at concealing the extent of their external state sponsorship by the Israelis.
Sky News Arabia also confirmed that Nusra Front was the group responsible in its live broadcast Sunday morning:
— سكاي نيوز عربية (@skynewsarabia) July 22, 2018
Over the weekend while the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) began facilitating the covert cover of darkness plan to evacuate the White Helmets, which ended up being 422 people as opposed to initial Jordanian and Israeli statements indicating 800 persons, a separate convoy of buses simultaneously prepared to transport militants to Idlib who surrendered during a fierce Syrian Army advance on the area.
The transfer to Idlib, which included a large caravan of buses, was part of a previously reported ceasefire arrangement brokered by Russian officers,