IDF Allows Filming of Humanitarian Operation on Syria Border

View of a Syrian refugee camp between the Israeli and the Syrian border as it seen from Alonei Habashan in the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, Northern Israel, February 2016. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Dramatic images of the Israeli humanitarian operation on the Syrian border were broadcast on Hadashot News (formerly Channel 2) on Sunday night.

For the first time, the IDF allowed a news crew to document the entry of refugees from the Syrian civil war to receive medical treatment in Israel.

The report included interviews with several Syrian mothers who crossed over with their children, who expressed their gratitude to Israel for the desperately needed medical assistance.

“It has become unremarkable” for Syrians to come to Israel for treatment,” one mother told the interviewer. “Everyone wants to come here. Adults too; not just the children.”

The rationale” behind the outreach “is clear,” the report noted: “A humanitarian imperative alongside a security need. Someone whose family or friend is given medical treatment in Israel will presumably change his attitude to the enemy.”

The crossing of 21 mothers and 23 children was filmed. They reportedly arrived for treatment of war-incurred injuries such as shrapnel wounds as well as illnesses such as asthma.

The footage showed tense minutes while final security checks were made and the refugees waited on the Syrian side of the fence. After being let in, they were carefully watched and escorted by armed IDF soldiers, who supervised their boarding of a vehicle to take them to Ziv Hospital in Tzefas.

None of the faces of the Syrians were shown, in order to protect them from possible retribution on their return home.

In one interview, a Syrian mother said that, in the past, “Israel was thought of as the enemy… Now that you are helping us, most [on the Syrian side of the Golan] are with you. They love Israel. They see the true face… the reality.”

So, who do they think of as “the enemy now?” the reporter asked.

“All of them: Islamic State, Hezbollah, Bashar [Assad]. They’re all the same,” answered one of the mothers.

“I wish we could stay here for good,” said another. If the border to Israel was open, “I’d be the first to cross,” she said.

How many Syrians would follow? She was asked. “Would it be millions?”

“All of Syria would follow me,” she replied. “All the civilians left in Syria would come.”

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