The government of Israel has admitted – curiously unmentioned by the UK’s mainstream press and broadcasters – to assisting rebel groups in Syria.
The US’ Wall Street Journal reported in June that Israel was providing aid to rebels, but the claim was furiously denied by the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said at the time:
We do not intervene in this terrible bloody conflict, but we do provide humanitarian assistance to wounded children.
However, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon has now told the Times of Israel (ToI) that assistance is being provided:
Ya’alon told the newspaper:
We’ve assisted them under two conditions – that they don’t get too close to the border, and that they don’t touch the Druze.
He also confirmed that this assistance direct to Syrian rebel fighters has been taking place since the conflict started.
According to ToI, this consists of medical aid – but to wounded fighters rather than exclusively to children – a claim substantiated by the newspaper’s report of an attack by Israeli Druze on an Israeli ambulance carrying wounded insurgents.
Rebels in Syria include ISIS and the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra.
The Druze are ‘ethnoreligious’ group with their own distinct religion. Druze militia played a substantial part in the Lebanese civil war but there is also a significant community in Israel, mostly in the north of the country bordering Syria.
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