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Israel Looks to Assist Syrian Refugees

Michael Johnson
Israeli military medic tends a Syrian man who was wounded in the ongoing violence in Syria, in a military hospital located in the Golan Heights February 2014. (Photo: AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that Jerusalem was exploring ways to bring Syrian civilians to the Jewish State for medical treatment.

“We’re prepared to take in wounded women and children, and also men if they are not combatants … bring them to Israel, take care of them in our hospitals, as we’ve done with thousands of Syrian civilians,” said the Netanyahu, who specifically named civilians fleeing Aleppo as a target of the strategy.  

With one million internally displaced refugees in southwestern Syria, Israeli physicians have already treated over 2,500 Syrians in the Golan Heights since 2013. However, logistical challenges to transfer wounded civilians from northern Syria pose the largest challenge to Jerusalem’s plans, as Aleppo is 400 miles from the Syrian border. Turkey or Jordan could be used as transit countries for the refugees since Syria is still technically at a state of war with the Jewish State.

During his press conference, Prime Minister Netanyahu also warned that he would not allow the conflict to “spill over into our territory,” a red line that the that the government had maintained since the war started. In the most recent incident, late last month the IDF bombed a ISIS target in retaliation for shooting at Israeli troops.

After the fall of Aleppo to Syrian government forces, backed by Iran and Russia, a Turkish negotiated ceasefire has allowed fighter and civilians to flee the city. According to the Red Cross over 25,000 people have been evacuated from the city, but thousands remain stranded without access to aid.