Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would like his country to treat Syrians who have been wounded in the besieged city of Aleppo. Netanyahu told members of the foreign press in Jerusalem that he had instructed his government to figure out ways to extend medical assistance to non-combatant men, women and children from Syria.
"We see the tragedy of the terrible suffering of civilians and I've asked the Foreign Ministry to seek ways to expand our media assistance to the civilian casualties of the Syrian tragedy, specifically in Aleppo where we're prepared to take in women and children, and also men if they're not combatants," he said on Tuesday (20 December).
Netanyahu continued: "We'd like to do that; bring them to Israel, take care of them in our hospitals, as we've done with thousands of Syrian civilians. We're looking into ways of doing this; it's been explored as we speak." According to the Israeli army, more than 2,000 Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals since 2013.
The prime minister told foreign reporters and diplomats attending the government press office's annual New Year reception that he does not see an end to the fighting and cannot imagine a peaceful resolution to the conflict that would restore the pre-war status quo, Times of Israel reported.
"Do I see a resolution of the Syrian situation? No," he said. "It's certainly not going to be one happy Syria, that's for sure. Will it be a united Syria? I doubt it. You have enclaves there and I don't think they're about to disappear."
Netanyahu said there was very little Israel could do to help Syrian civilians suffering in the civil war. "I don't know if we can resolve [the Syrian civil war]. But we can help mitigate some of the suffering, that's the best that Israel can do."
The eastern part of Aleppo, which has been bombed by government forces with the help of Russia, has been undergoing evacuations as the Syrian regime works to take control of the former rebel-held enclave.According to The New York Times, Syrian activists say as few as 3,000 people are awaiting evacuation before President Bashar al-Assad's government resumes full control of the city.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on 20 December that 60 buses entered Aleppo to pick up the remaining 3,000 fighters and their families from the eastern part of the city. Earlier in the day, the UN humanitarian aid agency said that the Syrian government had authorised UN plans to send 20 monitors to oversee the evacuations.