Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed during his annual address to foreign reporters stationed in Israel that Jerusalem was looking into the possibility of bringing wounded refugees from the Syrian city of Aleppo to Israeli hospitals for treatment. “I’ve asked the Foreign Ministry to seek ways to expand our medical assistance to the civilian casualties of the Syrian tragedy, specifically in Aleppo. We’re prepared to take in wounded women and children, and also men if they are not combatants, bring them to Israel, take care of them in our hospitals, as we’ve done with thousands of Syrian civilians,” said Netanyahu.
For the past three years, civilians and militants wounded in Syria’s civil war have been brought discreetly across the border into Israel for treatment, although Israel and its northern neighbor maintain a formal state of war. According to Turkish officials, since late last week, an operation in Syria to evacuate civilians and militants from the rebel-held districts of Aleppo has brought out some 37,500 people. The International Committee of the Red Cross, however, put the number evacuated since the humanitarian operation began at only 25,000. The evacuations are part of a ceasefire arrangement that ended the fighting in Aleppo, after Syrian government forces and their allies conquered most of the embattled city, obliging rebels to reach an agreement that forced them to relinquish the remaining territory under their control to government hands, in exchange for the evacuation of their people to the rebel-held province of Idlib.