Israeli Military Sheds Light on Its Humanitarian Aid to Syrians

From providing baby food and blankets to civilians to evacuating fighters for treatment, Israel forces have their hands full on Syrian border.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

An Israeli military official briefed reporters on Sunday on Israel's supply of provisions to Syria and the medical treatment it affords militants.

The Israel Defense Forces is not involved in the fighting in Syria despite its provision of humanitarian aid to wounded rebels and civilians, an IDF officer said.

“The fact that the wounded are taken in, or that at Jubta al-Hashab we provide a truck containing baby food or blankets, doesn’t mean we are partners in the war,“ the officer told reporters, referring to the village in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria, which is under rebel control. 

When injured Syrian rebels are in need of medical evacuation to Israel, they contact a liaison in Israel who informs the IDF, and that same liaison facilitates the rebels’ return to Syria when they are able to travel, the officer added.

Hundreds of injured Syrians have been treated in Israel so far, both in hospitals in the north and in a field hospital the IDF built at a fortification near the border. The fact that Israel was giving aid to Syrian villages near the border was disclosed in December by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. He said Israel was sending over water and food, including baby food, and helping people prepare for winter. “The villages here are locked in, have no access to anywhere else,” Ya’alon said. “We’re supplying humanitarian help to residents over the border here, and are evacuating them to our hospitals. We don’t see the situation stabilizing in the near future.”

The supplies are conveyed either by UN forces or by the IDF soldiers placing them on the other side of the border, where villagers pick them up.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with a Syrian man, who was wounded in the ongoing violence in Syria on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Credit: AP