Hundreds of Syrian refugees with white flags try to enter Israel

Hundreds of Syrians carrying white flags approached Israel’s northern border in an attempt to enter the country.

By: World Israel News Staff

Hundreds of Syrian refugees approached Israel’s northern border on Tuesday waving white flags and asking to enter the country.

The Syrians marched from their encampments, situated adjacent to Israel’s Golan Heights, and stopped some 200 meters away from the border fence.

IDF forces securing the border fence called on them not to advance and to return to their camps.

“You are on the border of the State of Israel. Go back, we don’t want to hurt you,” an IDF officer told the refugees in Arabic through a megaphone, footage filmed by Reuters shows.

“Go back before something bad happens. If you want us to be able to help you, go back,” he added.

The marchers turned around at some point and left the area, without further incident.

The area has recently seen heavy fighting. Syrian rebels and government forces on Monday clashed over a reconnaissance point near the frontier with Israel, as the government pressed forward with military operations in the country’s southwest.

Syrian forces bombed villages and rebel positions around Tell al-Haara, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which monitors the war through a network of on-the-ground activists.

Syrian state media said government forces seized the hill, but the Observatory said an al-Qaeda linked faction fighting alongside rebels ambushed troops there, forcing them to retreat. Twelve of the government forces were killed, said the Observatory.

Since June 19, government forces have seized towns and villages from rebels in southwest Syria, at the borders with Israel and Jordan, and recaptured the city of Daraa, the birthplace of the 2011 revolt against President Bashar Assad.

While Israel has refused to admit Syrian refugees into the country, it has extended massive humanitarian aid to the casualties of the prolonged Syrian civil war.

The IDF, as part of Operation Good Neighbor, has provided over 1,500 tons of food, 950,000 liters of fuel, 8,000 diaper packages, 545 tons of baby food, 25,000 boxes of medicine and medical equipment, 775 medical equipment units, 250 tons of clothing, 14,000 hygienic products, and 300 tents to Syrians since June 2016.

Additionally, over 1,300 Syrian children suffering from various illnesses and ailments have received treatment in Israel’s specialty clinics.

The Mazor Ladach field clinic, established by the IDF and international aid organizations in the southern Golan Heights, has provided medical treatment to approximately 6,000 Syrian civilians suffering from various conditions since its opening in August 2017.

Thousands of Syrian civilians fleeing the hostilities are living under poor conditions in these camps near the Israeli border, often lacking access to water, electricity, food, and other basic necessities, the IDF noted.

“We are desperate for help and are in serious life-threatening danger. We hope that Israel will be able to take us in and we will continue from there to European states,” a refugee told Ynet on Monday.

However, Israel fears that a breach of the border or the admitting of refugees could be used as a ploy for Iranian forces or terror groups to attack Israel.

AP contributed to this report.