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Monday, September 09, 2013

"Nobody asks permission to kill. We do not ask permission to save lives"

Two weeks ago, I did a post about a group of Israelis that was operating in Jordan to help Syrian refugees. The JPost has an update.
In light of the situation in Syria, the volunteers have been working in full cooperation with democratic secular Syrian groups that have significant presence on the ground and deliver the organization’s aid to specific places according to an agreed-on distribution map.

“We started operating about three weeks following the start of the crisis, even though back then we didn’t know the extent of the catastrophe yet,” Yael told the Post.

Through its activity, which is titled the “IL 4 Syrians” project, the organization has delivered hundreds of tons of basic food; sanitation items including soap, toothbrushes, women sanitation kits, toilet paper and tissues; vital refugee items such as insulating material, mattresses, blankets, iron sheets to build housing units and water canteens; and 300,000 dry meals, each meant to feed five people for a week.

The NGO also delivers emergency medical aid such as medication, surgical supplies and field surgery tents, designed to provide as sterile as possible an environment to perform operations.

In addition, the Israeli team has provided post-trauma care for children and women, and trained teenage boys to use digital cameras and satellite transmitters to “take shots that the media will want to see,” while teaching them to remain untraceable and out of danger.

“We believe that if the US strike takes place, Assad will use more chemical weapons,” Yael said. “We are currently fund-raising to purchase some 3,000 special protection kits for Syrian medical teams who work in field hospitals and clinics in 14 different towns in Syria.”

While it operates undercover, the organization has encountered many challenges due to the difficult situation on the ground.

“The Muslim Brotherhood there has been distributing aid at mosques, but there are some people who for certain reasons are not permitted to enter a mosque,” Yael explained. “The problem is that the Muslim Brotherhood is fighting anybody who tries to distribute aid in other ways. Some of the members of those Syrian democratic groups that we are in touch with got kidnapped and beat up for that.”

Yael added that according to her sources on the ground, the Assad regime has been cutting supplies of water in regions affected by the use of chemical weapons. Water is essential for people in those areas in order to rinse their bodies from the chemicals, she said.

Since it was founded, the organization has carried out undercover humanitarian activities in dozens of countries including Sudan, Pakistan, Myanmar (Burma), Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Iraq.
Read the whole thing. It sounds like they're now operating in Syria too.

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