Israeli army pledges help to embattled Syrian Golan village

Israeli army pledges help to embattled Syrian Golan village
Druze men residing in Israel hold their community’s flag after they heard about clashes in the Syrian Druze village of Hadar, on Nov. 3, 2017 in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. (AFP/Jalaa Marey)
Updated 03 November 2017

Israeli army pledges help to embattled Syrian Golan village

Israeli army pledges help to embattled Syrian Golan village

JERUSALEM: The Israeli army on Friday issued a rare statement in support of a government-held village in Syria’s Golan Heights, pledging not to allow it to be taken by attacking rebel forces.
The army was ready to “prevent Hader from being harmed or occupied, as part of our commitment to the Druze population,” a statement from chief military spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said.
Manelis did not specify how Israel would act, but firmly denied “claims of Israeli involvement or help to global jihad elements in the fighting.”
The majority-Druze village, which lies near the disengagement line that divides the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan from that occupied by Israel, was targeted early in the morning by a suicide car bomb that killed nine.
Clashes were reported between government and rebel forces, and one Israeli was lightly wounded by spillover fire.
Meanwhile, Druze from Majdal Shams, a village on the Israeli side of the disengagement line, rushed to the fence in a bid to help their brethren in Syria, an AFP reporter said.
The Israeli army sealed off the area to prevent any such crossings.
There are approximately 140,000 Druze in Israel, including 20,000 in the Golan Heights.
Israel has long professed a policy of not intervening militarily in the Syrian civil war, while carrying out strikes on weaponry that could threaten it and treating people wounded in the fighting.
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it, a move never recognized by the international community.