Israel Reportedly Providing Direct Aid to Syrian Rebels

Israeli soldier observes Syria's Quneitra province at an observation point on Mount Bental overlooking the border with Syria

Israel Reportedly Providing Direct Aid to Syrian Rebels

Israel has often responded to stray rocket and mortar fire that has landed in Israeli territory from Syria, by attacking small targets across the border.

Israel has been secretly providing aid to Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights for years with the goal of maintaining a buffer zone of friendly forces to keep ISIS and forces aligned with Iran at bay, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The main group coordinating with Israel, the Fursan Al Joulan (Knights of the Golan), receives approximately $5,000 per month which is used to pay salaries and to purchase weapons.

The report alleged that the aid was mainly provided via a military unit set up in the IDF and tasked with supporting independent rebel groups that do not receive help from other Western powers. It has also claimed a number of airstrikes in Syria it says were meant to prevent arch-foe Hezbollah from acquiring advanced weaponry from Iran via Damascus.

Although the Israeli media and United Nations observers in the occupied Golan Heights have openly reported wounded Syrian rebels being transported into Israel for medical treatment, active support for the fighting has not surfaced - until now.

The Journal based its report on interviews with rebel soldiers and other sources.

More news: ¡Enhorabuena! Beyoncé da a luz a sus gemelos

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits an IDF field hospital treating wounded Syrians, on the Golan Heights on February 18, 2014. A spokesman for the rebel group Fursan al-Joulan spoke to the Journal and praised Israel for helping his group.

"We do not intervene in this awful, bloody conflict, but we do provide humanitarian assistance to boys and girls", Netanyahu was quoted as saying by Israel's Channel 2 during a visit to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, where, according to the prime minister, more than 2,000 Syrians wounded in the ongoing war in their home country have received treatment.

The support has been substantial and direct, including cash funds, food, fuel and medical supplies, creating a reality in which several armed groups and much of the civilian population in the area are reliant on Israeli aid, the WSJ reported.

Israel and Syria have technically been in a state of warfare for decades.

The Wall Street Journal based its findings on information provided by "half a dozen rebels and three people familiar with Israel's thinking", who said that Israel's secret dealings with the rebels began as early as 2013 under former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and that they continue to this day, with the goal of keeping pro-Iranian groups, like Hezbollah, away from the border.

Últimas noticias