Last updated: 30 March, 2013

Israel hospitalises wounded Syrian

Military medics transferred a wounded Syrian to hospital in Israel after he crossed the armistice line on the Golan Heights in a serious condition, an army spokeswoman said on Saturday.

“In light of his medical state, and based on humanitarian considerations, chief of staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz approved the injured Syrian’s transfer to hospital in Israel for further medical treatment,” she said.

“On his release from hospital, he will be returned to Syria.”

The spokeswoman would not say whether the wounded man was a civilian or rebel fighter. She also stressed that the incident did not indicate a change in Israel’s policy, which discourages Syrian refugees from entering Israel but affords medical treatment in serious cases.

On Wednesday, a rebel fighter who had been taken to a hospital in Israel died of his wounds, while five other Syrians seeking medical aid at the border were treated on the spot by Israeli medics and sent back.

In the past month, 11 wounded Syrians have been treated in Israel. Eight of those were repatriated and three have remained in the country for further treatment, including Wednesday’s casualty.

Israel controls some 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the strategic Golan Heights, after gains made during the Six-Day War of 1967, while around 510 square kilometres remain in Syrian hands.

Rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seized a swathe of land stretching 25 kilometres (15 miles) east to west along the Jordanian border to the armistice line with Israel in fighting earlier this month.