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Israel ends Syrian aid programme

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The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has ended its aid programme for Syrians affected by the country’s civil war.

“Operation Good Neighbour,” which was officially launched in 2016 after years of the IDF providing unofficial assistance, came to an end after the Syrian regime reimposed its rule in southern Syria. In total, the IDF supplied 1,700 tons of food, 630 tents, 40 vehicles, 20 electricity generators, 20 portable buildings, and 1,100,000 litres of fuel to civilians in southern Syria. It also supplied 8,200 crates of nappies, 26,000 crates of medical supplies, 14,000 hygiene wipes, 49,000 crates of baby food and 350 tons of clothes.

According to the IDF, it has treated 7,000 Syrian children in a field hospital, and 1,300 Syrian children in other hospitals, including inside Israel, as part of its “Operation Doctor’s Appointment”.

In one overnight mission in June, the IDF delivered 60 tons of humanitarian aid to 120,000 civilians after the Assad regime launched offensive in the area. The IDF said: “The extensive aid activities that were led by the IDF in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights is another expression of the values that guide its actions, including lending a supporting hand during tribulations of civilians in need of help, even beyond Israel’s border.”

The IDF has also said it provided aid to Syrians as a moral imperative, as well as the belief that the aid will ultimately create a less hostile environment across the border.

Jordan and Syria have held technical talks on re-opening the Nassib border crossing in southern Syria. Damascus hopes to revive its war-damaged economy and rebuild recaptured territory under its control through the opening of the crossing, whilst for Amman the reopening can reactivate billions of dollars of annual trade between Europe and Gulf markets across Syria.