- Title: Under cover of the night, Syrians seek help from enemy Israel
- Date: 24th January 2017
- Summary: UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, GOLAN HEIGHTS (RECENT) (REUTERS) ===NIGHT SHOTS=== ISRAELI SOLDIERS WALK TOWARDS MILITARY AMBULANCE, DOOR OPENS VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS OUTSIDE AMBULANCE WITH MEN WOUNDED IN SYRIA WOUNDED ON STRETCHERS IN AMBULANCE SOLDIERS TENDING TO WOUNDED WOUNDED CARRIED ON STRETCHER INTO AMBULANCE SIGN READING 'WELCOME TO ISRAEL' ON AMBULANCE'S FLOOR / SOLDIERS CHECKING WOUNDED VARIOUS OF ANOTHER WOUNDED BEING CARRIED ON STRETCHER INTO AMBULANCE (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) CAPTAIN AVIAD CAMISA, DEPUTY CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER OF GOLAN REGIONAL BRIGADE IN ISRAEL DEFENCE FORCE (IDF), SAYING: "The feeling is definitely one of satisfaction amid what we can see going on on the other side. This is actually the very least we can give them and the feeling here is one of a calling, of real humanitarian aide for the benefit of the population there." VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS TENDING TO WOUNDED FROM SYRIA SOLDIER CLOSING AMBULANCE'S DOOR AMBULANCE DRIVING AWAY UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, GOLAN HEIGHTS (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF REFUGEE DWELLINGS ON SYRIAN SIDE OF FRONTIER FENCE SIGN READING 'DANGER MINES!' MORE OF FRONTIER AREA SAFED, ISRAEL (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MAN NURSE TREATING WOUNDED FROM SYRIA IN ISRAELI HOSPITAL WOUNDED ON HOSPITAL BED CLOSE OF HAND OF WOUNDED ON HOSPITAL BED WOUNDED IN HOSPITAL BED WOMAN AND GIRL IN HOSPITAL BED ISSA FARES, SOCIAL WORKER IN ZIV MEDICAL CENTRE, IN HOSPITAL (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISSA FARES, SOCIAL WORKER IN ZIV MEDICAL CENTRE, SAYING: "In the first weeks no, we try not to ask them many questions because we are afraid that it will be more stress and (they) will be afraid more. We just give them what they ask and we give them the medical care. Then, after weeks, we start you know, the relationship together. They trust us and we start, yes, we ask not all of them, but many of them they told us about the story, where they come from, what's the real name of them. And we have good relationship together." VARIOUS OF WOUNDED MAN FROM SYRIA WHO ASKED TO BE UNIDENTIFIED, IN HOSPITAL BED VARIOUS OF WOUNDED LEG WITH BANDAGES (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) WOUNDED MAN FROM SYRIA, WHO ASKED TO BE UNIDENTIFIED, SAYING: "In the past we used to know Israel as our enemy that's what the regime used to tell us, as an enemy to us as a nation. When we came to Israel we have changed our thoughts, there is no enmity between us. But the regime created this idea in our minds so we can keep considering Israel as our enemy which benefits the regime. And in the end we discovered that our regime is the enemy for all of us." UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, GOLAN HEIGHTS (RECENT) (REUTERS) FRONTIER AREA BETWEEN SYRIA AND ISRAEL TANK MORE OF FRONTIER AREA WITH BARBED WIRE
- Embargoed: 7th February 2017 12:22
- Keywords: Syria Israel Violence War Wounded
- Location: UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, GOLAN HEIGHTS/SAFED, ISRAEL
- City: UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, GOLAN HEIGHTS/SAFED, ISRAEL
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA00160FVMTJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: It happens nearly every night. After dark falls, they come to set points on the Israel-Syria front. Men, women, children, wounded in the Syrian war and seeking help from an enemy army.
Israeli soldiers on the lookout or on patrol usually spot the wounded waiting by the fence and whisk them away from the border to a nearby spot where army medics soon arrive. After first treatment they are driven off to Israeli hospitals.
It is a risky trail for the Syrians who fear retribution back home if they are found to have received medical care in Israel. They asked Reuters not be identified by name or have their faces photographed or filmed.
After nearly six years of war, millions of Syrians have fled their homes. Hundreds of thousands have been killed.
A military spokeswoman said that Israel has allowed more than 2600 Syrians in for medical care. It refuses to accept refugees from Syria, with which it is still technically at war.
But perhaps concerned to counter the negative image it has in most of the Arab world, Israel has made no secret of the medical care it provides.
On a bitterly cold January night, on the occupied Golan Heights, gunfire and explosions are heard in the distance as the Israeli medics dress the injuries of two Syrian men, one suffering a head wound.
The medics then lift the wounded men onto an army ambulance which then slowly drives off down a dirt road.
"The feeling is definitely one of satisfaction amid what we can see going on on the other side. This is actually the very least we can give them and the feeling here is one of a calling, of real humanitarian aide for the benefit of the population there," said Captain Aviad Camisa, the deputy chief medical officer of the Golan brigade.
The wounded are brought to Ziv medical Centre in Safed in northern Israel, where many of the staff are native Arabic speakers, including social worker Issa Fares who said that "In the first weeks we try not to ask them many questions because we are afraid that it will be more stress." But in the weeks that follow, he said, trust is built and relationships are formed.
"In the past we used to know Israel as our enemy. That's what the regime used to tell us," said a Syrian man hospitalized at Ziv medical Centre. "When we came to Israel we changed our minds, there is no enmity between us."
His legs are pierced by shrapnel. He said he survived a bomb attack in his village last year in which 23 people were killed. "In the end we discovered that our regime is the enemy of us all," he said, referring to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
In a nearby room sits a seven-year-old Syrian girl, her mother by her side. Hit by a mortar shell about two months ago she suffered life-threatening injuries, her internal organs and three of her limbs badly hurt.
The girl's recovery has been quicker than expected and she will soon go home, the hospital said.
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. It has not formally taken sides in the civil war which began in 2011, but is wary of Iranian forces and Lebanese militia Hezbollah fighting alongside Assad, as it is alarmed by some of the Islamist groups they are battling.
After the brutal battles in Aleppo late last year, Israel began looking into taking in Syrian orphans from the devastated city, either for a short or lengthier period of time, an Israeli official said. But that project is still far off if it does eventually happen.
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