Israeli aid causes rift among Syrian rebels

Images of Israeli bags of rice and flour in the Quneitra area of Syria, much of which is controlled by Bashar al-Assad’s regime, have caused a stir in Arabic-language media outlets and social media networks.

While some rebel groups encourage the aid, others have expressed outrage over getting food from “the Zionist entity”.

One newspaper reported that the food passes through networks associated with the Free Syrian Army rebel group.

A Quneitra official told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Araby newspaper that Israeli medicine, baby formula, and other foodstuffs have also arrived. He confirmed that some armed rebel factions are coordinating with Israel on hospital treatment and aid. However, he said the aid had not been received for a month and that the groups did not know who exactly was transporting the goods.


A Syrian source told Ynet that the provision of aids is chaotic. “What’s occurring creates a confused and anarchic situation,” said the source. “What happened is that someone distributed aid to one of the factions without speaking with its leadership. . . This could create a big problem, even unintentionally. It is causing disunity.”

The source added that anger on the part of opposition groups is a deliberate overreaction because they see the aid distribution as discriminatory.

Moti Kahana, director of the Amaliah humanitarian organization, told Ynet that southern Syria has more than 50 rebel groups, of which 40 are considered moderate and receive aid from five countries.

“What our organization, which is a Jewish-American non-profit organization, proposes is to open the Quneitra border crossing for the organization that is willing to bring in aid for moderate groups, in coordination with the Americans,” said Kahana. “This will bring about cooperation and unity among all the moderate groups.”