Israel ‘secretly funding anti-Iran forces in Syria’

Wall Street Journal report cites Syrian rebel sources.


Israel has been secretly supporting Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights in a bid to keep forces aligned with Isis and Iran at bay, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

As a result, many of the region’s armed groups, and indeed the civilian population, have become reliant on the Israeli provision of cash, food fuel and medical supplies.

The secret interaction began as early as 2013, according to the newspaper’s sources, who it said included "half a dozen rebels and three people familiar with Israel's thinking".

They told the Wall Street Journal that the aid operation was being overseen by a special unit of the IDF which provides the group with around $5,000 a month.

The paper reported that the main group cooperating with the Israelis is Fursan al-Joulan (Knights of the Golan), which is not affiliated with the Free Syrian Army nor any other Western nation.

A spokesman for Fursan al-Joulan said: "Israel stood by our side in a heroic way…We wouldn't have survived without Israel's assistance."

According to the spokesman, the interaction began when some wounded fighters reached the Israeli border to beg for help. Communication continued after they were taken for medical care within Israel.

It has been known for some time that Israel treats wounded Syrians who arrive on the border, but news of ongoing cooperation with rebel forces  is likely to escalate tensions with Assad’s regime.

The Wall Street Journal said the Israeli army would not comment on the rebels' claims, but said Israel was "committed to securing the borders of Israel and preventing the establishment of terror cells and hostile forces... in addition to providing humanitarian aid to the Syrians living in the area".

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