This is painful propaganda, the kindness of Israel, aiding terrorists, violating Syria’s borders, but no mention is made of the 800 Israeli commandos fighting alongside ISIS or the Israeli General (Colonel?), Elon Shahak who commanded ISIS troops at Ramadi in Iraq, now captured and awaiting trial.
Two to four Israelis are killed in Syria each week. Some are aiding wounded while others are training bomb makers, providing leadership to terror groups or hunting Iranian and Russian advisors. The Daily Mail failed to ask about this, Israel’s forgotten war dead.
Saving their sworn enemy: Heartstopping footage shows Israeli commandos rescuing wounded men from Syrian warzone – but WHY are they risking their lives for Islamic militants?
Elite Israeli troops rescue wounded Syrians from the world’s worst war almost every night
They have saved more than 2,000 people since 2013, at a cost of 50 million shekels (£8.7million)
Many are enemies of Israel and some may even be fighters for groups affiliated to Al Qaeda
MailOnline embedded with Israeli commandos stationed on the border between Israel and Syria
Dramatic video filmed by MailOnline and the Israeli army shows these operations taking place
Israel says that the operation is purely humanitarian but analysts believe Israel also has strategic reasons
For more of the latest news updates on the Syrian war visit http://www.dailymail.co.uk/syria
Under cover of darkness, an Israeli armoured car advances down the potholed road that leads to Syria.
As it crests a small hill, the driver picks up the radio handset and tells his commanding officer that the border is in sight.
He kills the engine. Ten heavily-armed commandos jump out and take cover, watching for signs of ambush. Then five of them move up to the 12ft chainlink fence that marks the limit of Israeli-held territory.
On the other side, on the very edge of Syria, lies an unconscious man wrapped like a doll in a blood-drenched duvet. The commandos unlock the fence, open a section of it and drag him onto Israeli soil.
Unconscious: A wounded Syrian Islamic militant receives urgent medical treatment from Israeli troops at the Syrian border. The commandos are seen administering ‘tracheal intubation’ by forcing a tube down the man’s throat to prevent asphyxiation
Heart-pounding moment Israeli commandos save Islamic militants
The casualty – who doesn’t look older than 20 – is losing blood fast. He has been shot in the intestines and the liver, and has a deep laceration in his left ankle.
After putting him on an emergency drip, the commandos stretcher him back to the armoured car and head back to Israel.
But this wounded man is not an Israeli soldier, or even an Israeli citizen. He is an Islamic militant. And his rescue forms part of an extraordinary humanitarian mission that is fraught with danger and has provoked deep controversy on all sides.
Almost every night, Israeli troops run secret missions to save the lives of al Qaeda fighters, all of whom are supposed to be sworn enemies of the Jewish state.
MailOnline has gained unprecedented access to this secretive and hazardous operation, embedding with the commandos to obtain exclusive footage, and interviewing the medics who are obliged to treat Syrian militants, some of whom openly admit that they intend to kill Israelis.
Chaos: Alongside the border with Israel numerous groups battle in Syria, including Hezbollah, Government troops, rebels and ISIS
Israel insists that these treacherous nightly rescues are purely humanitarian, and that it can only hope to ‘win hearts and minds’ in Syria. But analysts suggest the Jewish state has in fact struck a deadly ‘deal with the devil’ – offering support to the Sunni militants who fight the Syrian ruler Assad in the hope of containing its arch enemies Hezbollah and Iran.
In giving medical support to these fighters, Israel has done a deal with the devil
Kamal Alam, research analyst, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
There is no doubt about the danger involved. Many of the casualties rescued by Israel belong to Salafist groups who harbour a deep-seated hatred of the Jewish State. It has also been reported that some may be members of Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian group affiliated to Al Qaeda that has kidnapped scores of UN peacekeeping troops in this area, and has massacred Christians deeper in Syria.
It is unclear how the two enemies arrange the rescue. All that has been disclosed is that word reaches Israeli forces that casualties have been dumped at the border, intelligence establishes that it is not a trap, and the commandos are sent in.
In the three years that Israel has been running these operations, it has saved the lives of more than 2,000 Syrians – at least 80 per cent of whom are male and of fighting age – at a cost of 50 million shekels (£8.7 million).
Almost nothing is known about the Syrian as he is wheeled into emergency surgery 40 minutes after the rescue. He may be a member of a relatively moderate Islamist group, or he may be a jihadi. For its part, Israel says it either does not gather, or does not disclose, this information.
Safe: The stabilised casualty is stretchered out of the vehicle outside the hospital, where he will be handed over to the surgical team
‘My dream is that one day, the Red Cross will say, thanks guys, we’ll take it from here, you go back to your unit and take care of injured Israelis,’ said Lieutenant Colonel Itzik Malka, commander of the medical branch of the Golan Brigade.
‘I am proud of what we are doing here, but it is a great burden. For every Syrian in hospital, there is one less bed for an Israeli. One day we will have to make a choice between an Israeli life and a Syrian one. When that happens it will be hard, but I have to say my first duty will be to Israelis.’
One day we will have to make a choice between an Israeli life and a Syrian one. When that happens, my first duty will be to Israelis
Lieutenant Colonel Itzik Malka, commander of the medical branch of the Golan Brigade
Officially, Israel says that this operation is part of its programme of humanitarianism, which has provided aid to a long list of countries from Haiti to Nepal. Palestinian civilians are also regular patients at Israeli hospitals such as the Rambam Medical Centre in Haifa.
A spokesman pointed out that about 20 per cent of the Syrians treated by Israel are civilians. MailOnline witnessed Israeli army medics treating a sick two-month-old baby and a middle-aged man who had suffered a heart attack, both of whom were evacuated across the Syrian border by the commandos.
The rescue of the baby girl was particularly poignant. Her older brother had died of a rare bone disease, and her mother feared that she was showing symptoms of the same disorder. Distraught, the woman decided to brave the dangers of the border and appeal to the enemy for help.
The baby was treated under cover of darkness in the back of an armoured car, by Israeli military medics with rifles slung over their shoulders. They were able to ascertain that she was suffering from a high fever and gave the mother some much-needed medication.
Then mother and infant were escorted by heavily-armed combat troops back to the Syrian warzone. Diagnosing the bone disorder would have to wait.
‘I wouldn’t say that Israel is doing this for nothing,’ said Chris Doyle, Director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding. ‘If so, it wouldn’t be publicising it.
‘There is an element of wanting to improve the country’s brand and image abroad, when all the opinion polls show that Israel doesn’t have the greatest reputation. £8.7million is a large price to pay for PR, but Israel’s powers-that-be have realised that it has to invest in its image.’
An Israeli Government spokesman rejected these claims as ‘absurd’.
‘Israel is a world leader in providing humanitarian assistance, both in the Middle East and around the world,’ he said. He also pointed out that this is not the first time the Jewish State has given medical care to those bent on its destruction and their families.
In October, a Tel Aviv hospital treated Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ brother-in-law, and last year it treated the daughter of the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. But analysts maintain that in the ‘tough neighbourhood’ of the Middle East, it is rare to give something for nothing.
Desperate: After being treated in the back of a jeep, mother and infant are escorted back to the dangerous Syrian warzone
MailOnline was given access to interview Syrian militants at the Ziv Medical Centre in Safed, northern Israel, one of a number of hospitals at which they are treated, on condition that their identities are not revealed. If other Syrians discovered they had received medical care in the hated Israel, they would be in danger of execution.
The casualties lavished praise on Israel. ‘I will not fight against Israel in the future. Israel looks after wounded people better than the Arabs. The Arabs are dogs,’ said a wiry rebel fighter who gave his name as Ahmed, 23, who was recovering from a gunshot wound to the groin.
‘Before I came here, I wouldn’t have said this. But there are many people who got injured and came to Israel for treatment, and they told me about it. I feel safe here in Israel. But when I am well again, I will go back and fight.’
Another rebel, 20-year-old Mohammed, whose leg had been all but destroyed by fire from a Russian-made ‘Dushka’ heavy machine gun, agreed. ‘Thanks to Israel for letting me in,’ he said, eyeing the surgical frame supporting his shattered leg.
‘The butcher Assad is my enemy. Israel is not my enemy. The one who treats you is not your enemy.’ As soon as he was well enough, he added, he too intended to go back to Syria to take up arms again.
The Israeli doctor in charge of their treatment, Russian-born Professor Alexander Lerner – a leading expert in treating war injuries – did not disguise his delight at these responses.
‘We are trying to build peace with our neighbours and win their hearts and minds,’ he said. ‘There are now 2,000 Syrians who have had their lives saved by Israel. We hope that this will change their life position. In the future, they will be more friendly to Israel and they won’t want to fight us.’
Converted: Ahmed, 23, a Syrian militant, says Israel is no longer his enemy, but many suspect he is just saying what Israelis want to hear
Other medical staff, however, believe that the militants were lying. Issa Peres, 36, a Christian Israeli Arab social worker, said that many hospital staff resented having to treat them.
I don’t trust any one of them. You can’t change their minds by taking care of them for two weeks
Issa Peres, social worker, Ziv Medical Centre
‘I work with the Syrians all the time, I see and hear bad things,’ he said. ‘Many of them said bad words to me, that they are going to kill me, they are going to fight with the Christian community, when they are safe they will fight against Israel.
‘They have destroyed churches and Christian communities in Syria. I have to care for them, it is my job. But if I’m sitting with myself, I say no, it is not right for Israel to treat them.’
Asked about the fighters’ promises not to fight against Israel in the future, he said: ‘I don’t trust any one of them. They grew up believing Israel is their enemy, Israel is the devil. You can’t change their minds by taking care of them for two weeks.’
Other Israelis are more bitter. In June, two wounded Syrian jihadis were attacked by a lynch-mob while they were being transported to hospital by ambulance. One was beaten to death, while the other suffered serious injuries.
Six weeks later, two members of the Israeli Druze community – an Arabic-speaking people found in Israel and across the Levant – were charged with murder. It emerged that the militants were suspected members of Jabhat al-Nusra, an Al Qaeda affiliate who had attacked Druze villages in Syria.