Israel Evacuated Islamist Commanders From Syria Alongside White Helmets
SPUTNIK NEWS – September 7, 2018: The article highlights, referring to a new report, gets dirty on the details of Israeli funding and weapons shipments to 12 anti-government extremist groups in Syria. Buried in the end of the piece is the revelation that Israel helped evacuate so-called “rebel commanders” as they also flew out members of the self-proclaimed “impartial” White Helmets organization.
On August 22, Israel evacuated some 800 members of the White Helmets, a group funded by the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and other Western countries, that claims to be an impartial civil defense organization but has been accused by Syria and Russia of terrorism. Its members have been caught on video grinning wildly as a child nearby was being beheaded in addition to other atrocities, while a high-budget film about the group won the 2017 Academy Award for best documentary.
But as the White Helmets and members of their immediate families were evacuated from southern Syria as the government was liberating it from jihadists, so too were “rebel commanders” and their families, according to Foreign Policy.
Those commanders’ whereabouts are unknown. For the article, Foreign Policy spoke with “more than two dozen commanders and rank-and-file” members of the groups funded and evacuated by Tel Aviv. Some people in Syria say the evacuees are in Israel, and others say they are in Jordan. “One former commander informed his subordinates that he had arrived in Turkey,” the outlet reported.
According to the deleted article, Israeli officials admitted to supporting seven anti-government groups in the Golan Heights with light weapons and munitions. But a new investigative report by Foreign Policy ups the number of groups getting lethal support from Israel to 12.
While Israel has treated fighters of Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate, in its hospitals, many of the rebel groups in the Golan and Syria’s Quneitra province are believed to be working closely with al-Nusra. Al-Joulan “undoubtedly has an affiliation with a larger Islamist group like al-Nusra or al-Qaeda, but I haven’t been able to determine that,” Israel analyst Richard Silverstein wrote in Middle East Eye.
Now, it appears that some of the group’s members have reversed their opinions on the country. After Israel kept out of the way of the Syrian army and Russian airpower during the liberation of southern Syria earlier this summer, one fighter told Foreign Policy, “This is a lesson we will not forget about Israel. It does not care about… the people. It does not care about humanity. All it cares about it its own interest.” Reportedly, many of the members begged for asylum but did not get it. Some joined the Syrian Arab Army instead.
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Ex-General Complains That Israel Hits Syria ‘Every Time’ Army Strikes Terrorists
SPUTNIK NEWS – September 7, 2018: The article highlights that Damascus accused Israel of missile strikes in the country’s Hama and Tartus provinces, with the attacks leaving at least one dead and 12 injured, and destroying infrastructure and military equipment.
Retired Syrian Major General Yahya Suleiman said he thought Tuesday’s attacks (September 4) were carried out in the interests of Israel’s US allies, which had “expressed concerns” about the Syrian Army operation to liberate the province of Idlib from a motley mix of militants, including jihadist extremists.
“This was not the first strike of this kind,” Suleiman told Sputnik Arabic. “Every time the army prepares an operation against the armed groups, Israel attacks. The last time this took place was ahead of the army’s offensive in the country’s south,” he recalled.
“Based on the information at my disposal and using simple logic, I am telling you that there are no Iranian military forces on the territory of the Syrian Republic, only unarmed military advisers,” he said. “This is normal practice, given the cooperation agreements which exist between our two countries. The Iranians are not fighting in Syria, they are helping us. If there were Iranian military units in Syria, we would have declared this to be the case. After all, there is nothing objectionable about this,” he added.