Crowds of Syrian refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) have fled to the Israeli border to escape threats including the Islamic State, various militias, and Syrian regime forces. However, Israel wants no part in taking in refugees, Israeli soldiers guard the border and issue warnings to would be crossers. In a video released by local media this week, Israeli soldiers manned positions along a border fence in the Golan Heights area while an army officer shouted down, “Go back before something bad happens. If you want us to be able to help you, go back. Get a move on,” to the large groups of people coming from Syria. Another soldier shouted through a loud speaker in Arabic,
You are on the border of the State of Israel. Go back, we don’t want to hurt you.”
The Israeli government has made it clear they will not be taking in refugees. However, they will be providing humanitarian relief to refugees. Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated last month that, “We are closely monitoring events in southern Syria. We will guard Israel’s security interests. As always, we will be ready to provide humanitarian aid to civilians, women and children but we will not accept any Syrian refugee to our territory.” The United Nations demanded that the 234,000 plus Syrian refugees stuck near the Israeli and Jordanian borders be given aid immediately considering their “dire” situation.
Assad’s Syrian regime army began a large scale operation last month to take over the As-Suwayda and southwestern Daraa territories. Both areas are incredibly close to the Golan border region. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), by the end of June pro-Assad regime militants have taken over 91% of Daraa. It has been estimated that nearly 550 militants and civilians have been killed over the course of offensive. SOHR also reported that in the village of Nawa, pro-Syrian regime celebrations were held; this was the last opposition controlled city in the region. SOHR claims that 200,000 people from Nawa were displaced during this change in power.
Featured image: A soldier stands guard during an operational activity in Nablus. | By Israel Defense Forces [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons