As was noted here recently, two errant mortars fired from Syria exploded in the Golan Heights on the afternoon of February 18th. A few days later a bout of particularly heavy fighting took place south of Quneitra – which, unlike other areas proximate to the border, is still held by Assad’s troops – with the latter apparently retaking two villages from the anti-regime forces. On March 1st the IDF found the remains of two Katyusha rockets in the northern Golan, which appear to have been fired from Syria.
On the night of March 4th another attempt was made to place an improvised explosive device on the northern section of the border fence between Israel and Syria. Israeli forces responded with live fire.
On the morning of March 7th Israeli Air Force jets had to be scrambled several times as Syrian aircraft came very close to the border during their attacks on an opposition-held village just beyond the ceasefire lines.
Like many other incidents which have taken place in the Golan Heights since the Syrian civil war began, none of the above was reported by the BBC, despite their staff clearly being aware of at least some of the events.
Meanwhile, the flow of wounded Syrians arriving at the border to seek Israeli medical care continues. BBC Watch recently went to meet one of the doctors working at the field hospital established by the IDF in the Golan Heights to provide ‘first stop’ care for the wounded. Captain Dr S. noted that the types of injuries her team is treating – mostly gunshot wounds and injuries from explosions – are ones which are rarely seen in Israel these days and hence her generation of young doctors had little practical experience in dealing with such cases before the field hospital was set up. She also noted that the wounded Syrians arrive in a state of extreme fear seeing as they are, after all, coming to a country which they have been educated to regard as an enemy. Hence, she and her team deliberately avoid speaking Hebrew in the presence of the patients so as to try to reduce at least one stress factor, and instead converse with them in English and Arabic.
Patients with more complex injuries are transported to one of several civilian hospitals in the north of Israel. Here is the director general of the Western Galilee hospital in Nahariya, Dr. Massad Barhoum, talking at the recent AIPAC conference about his institution’s work in helping Syrian patients.