Israel has lifted the cloak of secrecy around its humanitarian aid to Syria, revealing on Wednesday that it has provided hundreds of thousands of Syrians deprived of basic services by the civil war with food, medical treatment and supplies, as well as heating fuel during the freezing winter months.
Over 200,000 Syrians living in 80 villages close to the Israeli border have benefited from a steady flow of live-saving supplies in a project dubbed “Operation Good Neighbor,” which began a year ago, according to a senior IDF officer who conducted a briefing for journalists in the border town of Qunetra.
In the past year alone, over 360 tons of food and flour, 120,462 gallons of gas, 100 tons of clothing (55 tons of warm clothes), 12 tons of shoes as well as generators and mobile caravans to use in clinics or classrooms have been given to Syrian civilians with the help of the IDF.
In addition, 12,000 packages of baby formula and 1,800 packages of diapers have been sent across the border, plus 1800 feet of piping to repair ruined water infrastructure, for running water for about 5,000 people in the villages.
One of the major aspects of the operation remains treating injured and sick Syrians.
The IDF began treating wounded and sick Syrians in 2013, and since then over 3,000 Syrians have been treated in Israel. In the last year alone, over 1,000 children were cared for in Israel.
The Israeli military designated a strip of territory within Syria of 25 miles by 10 miles, containing 80 villages within which to conduct the relief operations.
“This project has a significant impact on Israel’s security,” the officer said. “We have learned from the Americans, who lost the Iraqi population. We realized that we could do more for the population near our border than what we were doing at the time.”