Israel provides more humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians in Golan

The IDF carried out six operations this past week to provide humanitarian aid to displaced Syrians in the Golan Heights, the military announced on Thursday.

Led by the Bashan Brigade, 72 tons of food, 70 tents, 9,000 liters of fuel, as well as medicine, medical supplies, clothing and toys were transferred into Syria.

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“The IDF continues to established in the Syrian Golan Heights, where thousands of Syrians live in poor conditions without access to water, electricity, food or basic necessities,” read the statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit on Thursday.

“The IDF is monitoring developments in southern Syria and is prepared for a variety of scenarios, including continued humanitarian assistance to Syrians,” continued the statement adding that the IDF will not allow Syrians to cross into Israel and the military will “continue to defend the security interests of the State of Israel.”

The IDF has been providing to Syrians in the Golan Heights as part of Operation "Good Neighbors", which was launched in June 2016. The Israeli military has been providing among other things over 1524 tons of food, 250 tons of clothes, 947,520 liters of fuel, 21 generators, 24,900 palettes of medical equipment and medicine all while maintaining the principle of non-involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Major Dr. Sergei Kotikov, a senior IDF officer involved in Operation Good Neighbor, told The Jerusalem Post in a recent interview near the border with Syria that the IDF has increased their aid and food to Syrians since the beginning of the offensive.

Earlier this week some 200 Syrians gathered meters from the Israeli border after they marched on the border, with some waving white flags in an attempt to enter the Jewish state.

The Syrians turned back shortly after Israeli soldiers shouted at them to go back and return to a displaced persons camp in the village of Bariqa.

The Syrian army backed by Iranian Shiite militias and Hezbollah have been pummeling the southwestern provinces of Dara’a and Qunetria in an offensive aimed at recapturing the strategic areas bordering Jordan and the Golan Heights from rebels who have held the border for several years.

Thousands of Syrians have fled towards the Israeli border on the Golan Heights seeking a safe zone and according to the UN, some 285,000-325,000 people have fled since the beginning of the offensive with some 189,000 who have moved towards the border with Israel.

Syrians have fled their homes due to the offensive. Many have clustered in the Quneitra area along the border, hoping that the border area is a no-fly zone and that they will be protected from air raids or further regime advances.

Despite unconfirmed reports that Israel and the UN have been in talks to set up safe-zones for Syrians along the border, Israel has made it clear that no Syrian refugee would be granted entry into Israel which will continue to provide humanitarian aid.