Red Cross visits Syrians hospitalized in Israel

Red Cross visits Syrians hospitalized in Israel

Seven were taken in across the border after being injured in their country's civil war

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A sign warns of mines near the Syrian border with Israel in the Golan Heights (photo credit: Flash90)
A sign warns of mines near the Syrian border with Israel in the Golan Heights (photo credit: Flash90)

Three representatives of the International Red Cross on Wednesday visited seven injured Syrian fighters currently hospitalized in Israel.

The representatives received an update on the asylum-seekers’ condition and met with the Syrian men privately.

The seven men were injured as clashes between rebels and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime raged on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, near Israel’s northern border.

The men reached the Israeli border Saturday with a larger group of refugees trying to escape the violence in Syria. The seven, one of whom was seriously injured, were given preliminary treatment on the border after they were found to be unarmed. They were then transferred by IDF troops to Ziv Hospital in Safed in military ambulances. It was the first time since the civil war in Syria began nearly two years ago that victims of the violence were allowed into Israel.

The refugees, said to be in their 20s and 30s, are being kept isolated from other patients in secure rooms and the IDF is not permitting anyone but doctors treating the patients to speak with them, the hospital spokesperson told The Times of Israel.

One of the wounded men who was in critical condition when brought to the hospital, is now said to be in serious condition and hooked up to a respirator after having undergone two surgeries. The other six still suffer from moderate injuries to their limbs or midsections and are in stable condition.

Israel Radio has quoted sources in the IDF as saying Saturday’s events were an isolated incident, and that Israel would not grant humanitarian assistance to Syrian nationals on a regular basis.

The IDF Spokesperson declined to comment on the identities of the refugees and did not elaborate as to why the state decided to permit entry to the men.

However, Channel 10 reported on Monday that the army was planning to set up a field hospital, possibly near the Syrian border, to deal with future cases of injured fighters seeking help from Israel.

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