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Israel Creates the Syrian Liaison Unit

July 20, 2016
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IDF medics treat a wounded Syrian

Israel is planning for a long period of instability [due to] a political vacuum on the border with Syria in the Golan Heights. Therefore, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] has expanded and created units in the Northern Command which deal specifically with maintaining contact with local residents on the Syrian side of the border. The Liaison to Residents of the Syrian Golan unit was founded by the Northern Command under this framework.

The new unit will coordinate humanitarian assistance to people in the area and transfers of wounded civilians from Syria to Israeli hospitals. Over 2,000 injured Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War. Besides logistics personnel, the unit is also comprised of medical professionals, humanitarian workers and civilian officials.

This isn’t a new idea and was done before—this was how the IDF built a relationship with the residents of southern Lebanon in 1976. What started as humanitarian aid shipments through the “good fence” on the Lebanese border eventually became regular contact under the IDF Lebanon Liaison Unit’s framework.

By the time Israel withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000, the unit had already grown into a full division under the command of a brigadier general who also commanded forces from the South Lebanese Army (SLA) and was responsible for the wellbeing of the local residents in the area.

Despite the civil war raging in Syria, the contacts which Israel has made and maintained on the Syrian side of the border have enabled the border region to remain quiet. A factor in preventing the spillover of fighting into Israel has been the humanitarian aid which Israel has been providing to the residents of the area, including residents of Quneitra, the largest city on the Syrian side of the border.

Source: Excerpt from article by Alex Fishman, Ynetnews

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

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