Israel Secretly Armed and Funded 12 Syrian Rebel Groups, Report Says

Israel supported rebel groups to push Iranian-backed forces and ISIS fighters away from the Israeli border, Foreign Policy reports

new-hdc-logo
Haaretz
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A Syrian army soldier standing next to the village of Tal Kroum in Syria, August 14, 2018.
A Syrian army soldier standing next to the village of Tal Kroum in Syria, August 14, 2018.Credit: Sergei Grits,AP
new-hdc-logo
Haaretz

Israel discreetly funded and armed at least 12 rebel groups in southern Syria in order to keep Iranian-backed militias and Islamic State fighters away from Israel's border, Foreign Policy magazine reported on Thursday.

Foreign Policy's Elizabeth Tsurkov interviewed more than two dozen members of the rebel groups, who reported that Israel's support took place in recent years and ended last month.

>> Read more: Israeli satellite images reveal damage at site of airstrike on 'Iranian targets' in Syria ■ Analysis: Israel Signals Lull in Syria Strikes Is Over, Resuming Military Action Against Iran

The weapons transfer, according to the report, included assault rifles, machine guns, mortar launchers and transport vehicles, all delivered through three border crossings – gates that connect the Golan Heights and Syria.

These crossings are the same ones through which Israel transferred humanitarian aid to Syria.

According to Tsurkov, Israel paid each rebel approximately 75 dollars per month, with additional money transfers for the groups to purchase weapons on Syria's black market.

When Bashar Assad's forces retook south Syria in July, rebel groups expected Israel to intervene, due to the support they had received, sources told Tsurkov. One fighter said: “This is a lesson we will not forget about Israel. It does not care about … the people. It does not care about humanity. All it cares about it its own interests.”

Similar reports about Israel's support to Syrian rebels were published in 2017.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op