Israel May Allow Aid Into Syria Via Golan

YERUSHALAYIM -
Men make their way through the rubble of damaged buildings at a site hit by air strikes in Idlib city, Syria July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
Men make their way through the rubble of damaged buildings at a site hit by air strikes in Idlib city, Syria, July 20. (Reuters/Ammar Abdullah)

After five years of civil war in Syria, Israel is likely for the first time to allow assistance to be passed into southern Syria via its border. The Amalia organization, headed by Israeli-American businessman Moti Kahana, wants to send a large shipment of aid to areas of southern Syria that are held by rebel groups.

The assistance would be given to groups operating in the Quneitra area, to be distributed to residents. Amalia has for several years sponsored programs to help Syrian refugees, and according to media reports was instrumental in helping the last Jewish families living in the country to leave.

Amalia seeks to send medical equipment and supplies to the region and to set up a field hospital, as well as set up schools and distribute supplies. The objective, said the group, was to restore daily life to as normal a level as possible.

Speaking to Yediot Aharonot, Kahana said that the project was important “so the Syrian people can see who we Israelis really are. The situation there is worse than in Gaza, and everyone has to help. We are not in favor of Assad or Islamic State. The Syrian people must understand that we are seeking to help out ordinary citizens, whomever they are.”

A spokesperson for the IDF said that the army was “considering the request” and “weighing the possibility of coordinating with groups in order to distribute assistance to the Syrian population.”