On Syrian Border, IDF Seeks Closer Contact With Civilians On The Other Side

A Druze man looks at the nearby Syrian village of Jebata al-Khashabn from an Israeli army post near the village of Buqaata at the Israeli side of the border on July 24, 2012 in the Golan Heights.
Uriel Sinai/Getty

The Times of Israel reports: The IDF is establishing a special liaison unit to manage its growing contacts with Syrian civilians living across Israel’s northeastern border in the war-ravaged nation.

The Syrian regime of Bashar Assad holds almost no sway on the country’s Golan Heights perimeter with Israel, with large sections of the border held by various rebel and jihadi factions, including the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and Islamic State-affiliated Yarmouk Martyrs’ Brigades.

Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, which has claimed the lives of at least 250,000 people and displaced as many as half the country’s population, Israel’s army has treated some 2,000 Syrians who arrived wounded at the border fence.

Israel has also tracked — and occasionally responded to with airstrikes — a growing Iranian and Hezbollah presence on the Syrian Golan, especially in certain Druze villages bordering Israel, and has worked to protect Druze communities in southern Syria who are threatened by the many-sided fighting.

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