Israel will not allow any Syrian refugees to enter its territory but will continue to provide them with humanitarian aid, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said today.
More than 150,000 people in southwestern Syria have been forced to flee since the Syrian government launched an offensive to recover an area bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from opposition groups, a monitoring group said.
The Israeli military said an increased number of Syrian civilians had been spotted in refugee camps on the Syrian side of the Israel occupied Golan Heights over the past few days, and that it had overnight sent aid supplies at four locations “to Syrians fleeing hostilities”.
“We are closely monitoring events in southern Syria. We will guard Israel’s security interests. As always, we will be ready to provide humanitarian aid to civilians, women and children but we will not accept any Syrian refugee to our territory,” Lieberman wrote on Twitter.
His tweet was published hours after the military said it had transferred the aid to southern Syria.
Footage released by the Israeli military on Friday showed a forklift truck unloading palettes with supplies that it said included 300 tents, 28 tonnes of food, medical equipment and medication, footwear and clothing.
Israel has refused to accept refugees fleeing the more than seven-year conflict in Syria, a country with which it remains officially in a state of war. Israel also accuses Iran of stationing military bases and personnel in Syria to use the war- torn country as a launch pad for attacks into Israel.