Israel Is Courting Syrian "Hearts and Minds" to Keep Hizbullah Away

(Washington Post) Loveday Morris - Israel's "Good Neighbors" program, which began treating injured Syrian fighters and civilians in the early days of their country's civil war, has expanded into a more complex operation that also sends fuel, food and supplies into Syria. Israel's aim is to create a friendly zone just inside Syria to serve as a bulwark against Hizbullah, which is building its presence across the border. For the moment, Sunni rebel groups control most of the Syrian side of the 45-mile boundary between the two countries and Israel hopes to keep it that way. "First of all, it had to do with morals. People were injured on the other side of the border, coming to our fence - they were going to die," said Brig.-Gen. Eli Ben-Meir. "Then it led to a lot of other things." As fighting has died down along the border, Israel has started offering medical care for more routine ailments. More than 600 Syrian children have been bused to Israeli hospitals for treatment in the past year.

2017-09-14 00:00:00

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