New reports on Israel’s arming and funding of Syrian rebel groups reveals that no less than 12 rebel factions, all in southern Syria, were on the receiving end of Israeli aid. This included weapons, ammunition, money, and even some armored vehicles.
The story about arming Syrian rebels actually broke Wednesday with the Jerusalem Post, though Israeli military censors shut this down quickly. Once the foreign-based Foreign Policy came out with its own version Thursday, Israeli media were quick to follow, suggesting the censors gave up on trying to keep this secret.
Foreign Policy interviewed rebels from the Syrian groups, and suggested that they “feel betrayed” because they had assumed Israel would intervene militarily to save them from the Syrian offensive, and that never happened.
This sense of abandonment has been common among rebels getting foreign subsidies, as they’ve often assumed there was a deep commitment to the rebellion, as opposed to just a brief alliance of convenience. Several Syrian rebel groups have similarly lashed the US for “betrayal” during the war.
One rebel was quoted saying “This i a lesson we will not forget about Israel. It does not care about the people. It does not care about humanity. All it cares about is its own interests.” Israel confirmed it ended funding for rebels in July, when the last rebels in the south lost.
It’s unsurprising that Israel didn’t commit militarily to southern Syria during the offensive, since Russia was backing the attack on the rebels, and almost certainly would’ve moved against Israel if they had.