IDF chief pledges to protect Syrian refugees, provide humanitarian aid


(JTA) — The Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff said the army will act to protect Syrian refugees from being slaughtered by the Islamic State, or ISIS.

In a Knesset hearing Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said he is concerned by the proximity of Syria’s civil war fighting to the Israeli border and that the IDF will provide both humanitarian aid and security for fleeing Syrian refugees, the Times of Israel reported.

Also Tuesday, the IDF declared a part of the Golan Heights a closed military zone, preventing non-residents of the area, including tourists, from entering. The closure in the northeast portion is meant to “ensure the required safety level,” the IDF said in a statement. It follows intense fighting between government forces and rebels on the Golan border as part of the four-year civil war in Syria.

On Monday, thousands of Israeli Druze demonstrated on behalf of their Syrian counterparts, 20 of whom were murdered by ISIS last week. The Israeli Druze community announced that it had collected $2.6 million for the Syrian Druze to purchase weapons and urged the Israeli government to offer additional assistance, according to the Times of Israel.

Recommended from JTA