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A Syrian patient receiving treatment in the trauma unit at Ziv Medical Center in Israel. Photo by Simon Haddad

The outcome is obvious. Russian fighter-bombers are bombing the Syrian revel forces into oblivion. The rebels, who are also being pursued by President Assad's ground forces, are being driven south to within view of the Israeli border. Along the way, the Russian-led Juggernaut is destroying Syrian towns and villages where the rebels are making a last stand. Dozens of Syrian civilians are being killed and wounded daily in the crossfire. This has triggered a frantic flow of tens of thousands of civilians seeking shelter, from where? The direction of the Jewish state. Meanwhile, Israel has been supplying the Syrian refugees with humanitarian aid, baby food, tents, medicine, etc. In addition, the IDF has stepped up one of the least known secrets in the region - during the seven-year civil war it has been treating wounded Syrian civilians in need of critical medical care. These cases, now over 2,500, have been quietly transferred across the border at night to be treated at several IDF field hospitals. Emergency cases are rushed to a nearby hospital for intensive care and more complicated operations. The Identity of these Syrian patients must be kept secret for fear of reprisals after they are returned home to Syria. (They would be suspected by Assad's forces of having been turned into Israeli agents - even the many wounded children!)

Israel has clarified that it will not resettle Syrians inside Israel.

At the same time, Israel has clarified that it will not resettle Syrians inside Israel. It seems to make sense - all Syrians have been indoctrinated to hate the Jewish state. What could be a solution for the more than 120,000 refugees approaching the Israeli border may be in the hands of the UN (if it could take some time off from always bashing Israel). For example, an international refugee camp in southern Syria that would be off-limits to Russian fire-bombers and Assad's forces out for revenge against civilians who backed the rebels.

Israel resets...

Meanwhile, with both Assad's army and the rebel forces fast approaching the demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel, the IDF has beefed up its tanks and artillery along the border.

Druze village of Hader in Syria, viewed from the Golan Heights in Israel (photo by עופר 249 CC BY-SA 3.0)

Since the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the UN force has manned a demilitarized zone along the border that proved to be highly effective. However, during the ongoing conflagration in Syria, this UN force beat a rapid retreat to the Israeli side of the border. Eventually, it should also be sent back to monitor the Syrian side.

What Happens Next? In order to assess what happens now, it is helpful to look at what has happened so far. Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu adopted the sensible policy of staying out of the Syrian cauldron, except for two exceptions: 

  • 1) The IDF warned rebel forces not to mess with Druze villages not far from the Israeli border. The Druze people have a history of always remaining loyal to the state where they live. The Druze in Syrian are loyal to Assad, the Druze in Israel are loyal to Israel. When the rebel forces threatened to attack Druze villages, Israel sent a stern warning for them to back off, which they did. 
  • 2) The second by-product has been Jerusalem's total and unequivocal opposition to Iran developing a permanent military presence in Syria that would obviously turn into a forward base threatening the Jewish state (for example, like Hezbollah in southern Lebanon). Israel declared that it will not allow this to happen. To his credit, Netanyahu has apparently cut a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This episode is due "to be continued".

Gaza inferno...

The "hi-tech nation" has still not found a solution to the westerly winds that blow in from the Mediterranean over ... the border, sometimes deep into Israel.

The IDF has yet to find a totally non-lethal tactic for coping with the balloon and kite bombs launched by Palestinians along the Gaza border that are still igniting massive fires in Israel, after more than 12 weeks. The "hi-tech nation" has still not found a solution to the westerly winds that blow in from the Mediterranean over Gaza where they pick up and propel the firebombs over the border, sometimes deep into Israel. Fortunately, no Israelis have been killed or seriously wounded. But how long the situation will go on is hard to say. Obviously, the government is wary of starting a war with Hamas in Gaza and has avoided, as much as possible, the killing of Hamas terrorists who are orchestrating the balloon/kite campaign, mainly by Palestinian teenagers.

Iranian Crisis in a nutshell...

CNN - "A peaceful protest over a water shortage in the southern Iran city of Khorramshahr turned violent Saturday after clashes between police and protesters broke out. Police used tear gas to contain the crowd."

Supreme Ayatolla Khamenei

More and more Iranians are fed up. The ruling ayatollahs are squandering the nation's wealth to fund wars abroad as well as fanatical Shiah organizations. The list includes Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, Iraq, and bearing the title of "the world's greatest sponsor of state terrorism". This dubious honor comes are the expense of not even provided good drinking water for the Iranian people.

The better or worse is yet to come. What will happen when President Trump's latest sanctions on Iran start to kick in? (Also, to be continued.)

Political Analyst David Essing


David Essing

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