US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Ratney (R) with Prof. Alexander Lerner, head of orthopedics at Ziv Medical Center. (Andrew Friedman/TPS)

Michael Ratney, US Special Envoy for Syria, expressed deep appreciation for the medical care Israel provides to victims of the Syrian civil war. 

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Ratney, who also serves as US Special Envoy for Syria, said Monday he was “astounded” by Israel’s humanitarian treatment of Syrians wounded in that country’s six-year-old civil war.

The medical treatment the refugees have received at Ziv Medical Center in Safed has been an illustration of “Israeli compassion and competence,” he said.

Leading a delegation of US officials on a tour of Israel’s northern borders with Lebanon and Syria before ending the day in Safed, Ratney said he would “leave Ziv hospital with a profound appreciation for the heroic work you are doing treating Syrians wounded in their civil war.”

Ratney, fluent in Arabic, served as the United States Consul General in Jerusalem from 2012 to 2015.

Dr. Scott B. Lasensky, a senior fellow at The Institute for National Security Studies and a senior advisor on Israel, Syria and Middle East affairs in the Obama administration, also praised the hospital for showing dedication and compassion to refugees and fighters alike, both in Israel and abroad.

Spokespeople for Ziv Medical Center said the average stay for a Syrian patient is far longer than an Israeli one. The statement also said that the hospital has built a holistic framework to treat Syrian patients, including Arabic-speaking social workers, teachers and rehabilitation professionals and more.

Israel has long been providing aid to Syrian victims of the civil war, which has been ravaging the country for the past half decade. IDF medics and Israeli doctors have treated over 3,000 Syrian patients, while the country has transferred humanitarian aid to Syrian situated adjacent to its border.

By: Andrew Friedman/TPS and United with Israel Staff