Israel fears Assad’s forces will massacre rebelling civilians and is acting to prevent it.
Israel has asked Russia to ensure that Bashar al-Assad’s advancing armies do not harm or massacre civilians in south Syria as they complete their conquest of the area adjacent to Israel’s northern border.
Israel’s Channel 2 news reported Monday that Jerusalem has conveyed a message to the Kremlin on the issue and warned Assad, through Russia, to refrain from such atrocities.
Russia is a close ally of Assad, has aided his campaign to subdue the rebels in his country and has sway over Assad’s actions.
Israel’s northern border in recent weeks has seen heavy fighting on the Syrian side as regime forces advanced to crush the remaining rebel strongholds in the area. Some of the fighting has spilled over into Israel.
The Syrian government regained control of the frontier with Israel for the first time in seven years on Monday, after Islamic State-linked terrorists gave up their last pocket of territory in the area.
The United Nations has verified that more than 7,000 children have lost their lives or been injured in the Syrian conflict since 2013, and cites unverified reports putting the number “way beyond 20,000.”
The report added that Israel is also ready to take action to prevent such a massacre.
Most recently, following the request of the US and additional European countries, the IDF carried out a humanitarian operation to rescue 422 Syrian White Helmet operatives and their families.
The civilians were evacuated from the war zone in southern Syria due to an immediate threat to their lives posed by the Assad regime, which had declared the rescue and aid group a terror organization and claimed it was involved in anti-Assad actions.
“The transfer of the displaced Syrians through Israel is an exceptional humanitarian gesture,” the IDF stated.
The civilians were subsequently transferred to Jordan, after which they will move on to European countries or Canada.
“Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict and continues to hold the Syrian regime accountable for all activities in Syrian territory,” the IDF stressed.
Through Operation Good Neighbor the IDF has provided humanitarian aid to Syrians, who until recently had regarded the Jewish state as their enemy.
As part of Operation Good Neighbor, the IDF has provided over 1,500 tons of food, 950,000 liters of fuel, 8,000 diaper packages, 545 tons of baby food, 25,000 boxes of medicine and medical equipment, 775 medical equipment units, 250 tons of clothing, 14,000 hygienic products, and 300 tents to Syrians since June 2016.
Additionally, over 1,300 Syrian children suffering from various illnesses and ailments have received treatment in Israel’s specialty clinics.
The Mazor Ladach field clinic, established by the IDF and international aid organizations in the southern Golan Heights, has provided medical treatment to approximately 6,000 Syrian civilians suffering from various conditions since its opening in August 2017.