Israel confirms it is providing aid to Syrians
For the first time Tuesday, Israel confirmed that it is providing humanitarian aid to Syrians, according to the Associated Press.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon acknowledged the Jewish state's support operations for victims from the neighboring war during a visit to the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. According to Yaalon, Israel has been covertly providing food and emergency supplies to war-torn villages near the Israeli-Syrian border.
"We can't sit by and watch the humanitarian difficulties on the other side. We've transferred water, food, including baby food, taking into consideration that these villages are besieged and they don't have access to any other place. So therefore yes, we are assisting with humanitarian aid along the fence," said Yaalon.
Another Israeli defense official told reporters that the aid shipments have "been going on for several months." Most of the aid, according to the official, is transferred through the United Nations as an intermediary. Other supplies are also placed near the border where Syrians in need have easy access to retrieve the aid.
According to the official, Israel is "not trying to hide" that the aid is from Israel, with many of the supplies branded with "Made in Israel" stamps or Hebrew script.
Though Israel and Syria have been considered at war with each other for decades, many wounded Syrians have been receiving treatment in Israeli hospitals, according to the report.
The war in Syria has occassionally spilled over the border, causing property and crop damage as well as fires. Though not confirmed or denied by Tel Aviv, Israel has launched some attacks in retaliation, and has also conducted airstrikes against arm shipments to Hezbollah-linked groups in Syria and Lebanon.
Israel has not taken sides in Syria's conflict, but has publicly expressed concern that the oust of Assad could plunge the region into sectarian warfare.