On Tuesday evening, Israel’s Defence Force (IDF) delivered hundreds of care packages to displaced Syrians. The “unique and exciting” operation, was enabled by Israeli residents of the Golan Heights who spent the past week collecting urgent supplies.
In a statement from the IDF, the care packages were said to contain “hundreds of personal gift bags…contain[ing] toys, crayons, games, candies and notes from the children of the Golan”.
The statement continued: “The supplies were brought to the IDF, who transferred them last night in two military operations to the other side of the fence”.
The initiative was done under Operation Good Neighbour run by the IDF’s Bashan Division which has been providing aid to Syrians in the border area since June 2016. Since then, Israel has transferred 360 tonnes of food and flour to Syrian civilians.
The Commander of the Good Neighbour mission explained their initiative: “All of this was done for our neighbours on the other side of the fence, who have been educated to hate Israel and everything related to it and in recent years have understood that the only country which has aided them was the same one they feared”.
The Syrian civil war, now in its eighth year has caused many citizens to struggle but according to the IDF, Israel have carried out 30 aid operations on behalf of the displaced Syrians as well as having delivered 75,700 litres of fuel for heating and operation of generators, 20 medical equipment units, 77 tonnes of clothing, 556 tents and 30 shade nets.
Tens of thousands of Syrians are attempting to escape Bashar Assad’s aggressive forces and the Russian military in Syria. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said it would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the area but said it would not allow Syrian refugees to cross the border.
In a statement released by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, they said “the IDF is monitoring the events in southern Syria and is preparing for a variety of scenarios, including continued humanitarian assistance to fleeing Syrians. We will not allow passage of Syrians fleeing the country and will continue to defend Israel’s security interests”.
Since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, hundreds of thousands have died and millions have been displaced. Israel – who remains officially at war with Syria – has responded to the civil war by providing medical treatment to wounded Syrians, treating people in field hospitals on the border and in public hospitals, mostly in northern Israel since 2013.