US doc­tor on Golan wounded by gun­fire

Vol­un­teer was treat­ing wounded Syr­i­ans in a field hos­pi­tal as part of Op­er­a­tion Good Neigh­bor

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By ANNA AHRONHEIM

An Amer­i­can doc­tor vol­un­teer­ing at an IDF field hos­pi­tal on the Golan Heights was lightly wounded by gun­fire from fight­ing across the bor­der in Syria.

The doc­tor, who was given med­i­cal care at the scene on Tues­day night, was treat­ing wounded Syr­i­ans as part of the IDF’s Op­er­a­tion Good Neigh­bor. While the gun­fire is be­lieved to be er­rant fire, the in­ci­dent is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, the army said.

While Is­rael has largely stayed out of the civil war, the IDF has been work­ing with in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions and donors to trans­fer aid and pro­vide med­i­cal care to thou­sands of Syr­i­ans liv­ing in vil­lages close to the bor­der.

In 2013, the IDF be­gan treat­ing wounded and sick Syr­i­ans, es­tab­lish­ing a field hos­pi­tal in the de­mil­i­ta­rized buf­fer zone be­tween Is­rael and Syria, and bring­ing in more than 3,000 Syr­i­ans to re­ceive med­i­cal treat­ment in Is­rael.

Those who ar­rive at the Is­raeli bor­der in­clude both com­bat­ants and civil­ians. All are given emer­gency field treat­ment to sta­bi­lize them be­fore the IDF trans­fers them to hos­pi­tals where med­i­cal care is pro­vided free of charge.

While the field hos­pi­tal es­tab­lished in 2013 has since been shut down, a new hos­pi­tal was opened in an IDF en­clave in the de­mil­i­ta­rized buf­fer zone this past July, with two doc­tors able to treat 30 pa­tients a day each.

The field hos­pi­tal, which was built by the IDF, is run by an Amer­i­can or­ga­ni­za­tion and has the ca­pa­bil­ity to grow to 16-18 doc­tors, and thus pro­vide care to more than 500 pa­tients per day. While it is not able to per­form surgery, it pro­vides care sim­i­lar to those pro­vided in any med­i­cal clinic.

Is­rael’s mil­i­tary is also fa­cil­i­tat­ing the con­struc­tion of two clin­ics in­side Syria run by lo­cals and NGO work­ers. As part of its Op­er­a­tion Good Neigh­bor, the IDF is help­ing with lo­gis­ti­cal co­or­di­na­tion and send­ing over ma­te­rial for the con­struc­tion of the build­ings as well as med­i­cal equip­ment and medicine.

While Is­lamic State- and al-Qaida-re­lated groups have con­trolled the Syr­ian bor­der for nearly five years, the As­sad regime has re­cently been re­gain­ing ter­ri­tory, and its of­fen­sives have led to er­rant mor­tar shells and gun­fire spilling into Is­rael.

The Syr­ian Army is cur­rently en­gaged in a bat­tle with al-Qaida gun­men in Beit Jinn, over the bor­der and on the foothills of Mount Her­mon. Last month, the IDF used a Pa­triot mis­sile to shoot down a Hezbol­lah drone that was col­lect­ing in­tel­li­gence for the Syr­ian regime of­fen­sive, and which had crossed into the de­mil­i­ta­rized zone.

In June, a num­ber of pro­jec­tiles hit Is­raeli ter­ri­tory due to in­tense fight­ing on the Syr­ian side near Quneitra, as the As­sad regime fought the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other rebels groups.

The IDF said it is act­ing pro­por­tion­ally to pre­vent any de­te­ri­o­ra­tion and has re­sponded to most of the spillover by re­tal­i­at­ing against As­sad regime po­si­tions.


A SOLDIER COMFORTS a Syr­ian child re­ceiv­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid from Is­rael.

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