Netanyahu: Israel Looking for Ways to Aid Wounded Syrian Civilians, Particularly From Aleppo

Israeli prime minister instructs Foreign Ministry to make plans for treating Syrian women, children and non-combatant men in Israeli hospitals.

This file image released on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016 by Aleppo 24, shows residents gathered near green government buses as they hold their belongings for evacuation from eastern Aleppo, Syria.
Aleppo 24 via AP, File

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the Foreign Ministry to explore ways of increasing the humanitarian aid that Israel provides to Syrian civilians wounded during the civil war in that country, particularly in the battle for Syria's largest city Aleppo.

Netanyahu announced the move on Tuesday, during a reception for foreign correspondents based in Israel.

The prime minister added that he had instructed the ministry to find way of bringing wounded civilians from Aleppo to Israel for treatment in Israeli hospitals.

“We see the tragedy of terrible suffering of civilians and I’ve asked the Foreign Ministry to seek ways to expand our medical assistance to the civilian causalities of the Syrian tragedy, specifically in Aleppo where we’re prepared to take in wounded women and children, and also men if they’re not combatants," Netanyahu said. 

"We’d like to do that: Bring them to Israel, take care of them on our hospitals as we’ve done with thousands of Syrian civilians. We’re looking into ways of doing this; it’s being explored as we speak."

Israel has been treating wounded Syrian civilians and rebel fighters at the Ziv Medical Center in Sefad, as well as other hospitals in the north of the country, for some time now. The patients invariably return to Syria after their treatment.

"Despite hostilities between Israel and Syria, there is a need to help Syrians for medical assistance," Ziv Hospital Director Dr. Salman Zarka told an audience in the United States this week.

"The Syrian Civil War began in 2011 and we at Ziv Medical Center have given medical assistance to the Syrians wounded since February of 2013. We are proud to have helped over 2,500 Syrians with assistance."

In September, Opposition leader Isaac Herzog called on the government to allow Syrian refugees into Israel. Millions of people have been displaced in the country, with an estimated one million refugees in the area of the Syrian Golan Heights alone.

"I call on the government of Israel to act toward receiving refugees from the war in Syria, in addition to the humanitarian efforts it is already making," Herzog said. "Jews cannot be indifferent while hundreds of thousands of refugees are looking for safe haven."