Israel secretly provided weapons and equipment to Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, according to two recent reports that appeared to confirm long-standing suspicions on ties between two factions of the seven-year civil war in Syria.
Israeli officials have publicly discussed providing humanitarian assistance to Syrian insurgents near the occupied Golan Heights as part of the country's Operation Good Neighbor, but Elizabeth Tsurkov, a research fellow at Israel's Forum for Regional Thinking, revealed Thursday in Foreign Policy that the Israeli military actually armed and funded at least a dozen opposition groups as well. The support also reportedly created the expectation among the Syrian opposition that Israel would intervene if the government and its allies tried to enter.
Just as the Syrian military was waging an offensive in July, however, Israel ceased its support and closed its borders to crowds of fleeing fighters and civilians alike. Tsurkov said Israel played upon the hopes of Syrians who were willing to overcome a decades-long animosity between Arabs and Israelis only to be left behind when the Syrian military returned and reclaimed the renegade provinces.
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