The IDF is preparing for thousands of Syrian refugees from the Golan Heights to seek shelter in Israel to escape the fighting, as Israel’s Druze community sought to help their co-religionists north of the border.
An Israeli general told the Knesset that the IDF was doing what it could to prevent a massacre against the Druze minority in southern Syria, following attacks by Sunni Muslim militias in recent weeks.
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said that if the border was deluged, as it was in May 2011, security forces would mobilise to prevent refugees from taking shelter among family members on the Israeli side.
Two weeks ago, a senior officer said that Israel would keep potential refugees in camps on the Syrian side, but this week officials confirmed that they may allow for a regulated entry.
Israel’s Druze, who fight in the IDF, have been raising money for weapons for fellow Druze communities in Syria, but have now called for Israeli military support, as the situation across the border deteriorates.
“Israel is not a part of this fighting and doesn’t want to be a part, because if we say we’re going to be part of the fighting it makes it worse for our people in Syria,” said Ayoub Kara, a Druze Member of the Knesset. “But I, as a Druze guy – I’m going to do what I can to support my nation.”
Israel is weary of getting involved in the civil war directly, but may provide humanitarian aid to the villages most effected.