DAMASCUS, Syria – Israeli landmines were found in large quantity, as well as heavy weapons. They were handed over by rebels in southern Damascus, Syrian state media reported on Saturday. Damascus has repeatedly accused Tel Aviv of aiding militants opposed to the government headed by President Bashar Assad.
While the Syrian army is expelling the last remaining terrorists from the southern periphery of Damascus, mainly ISIS, those who refuse to completely abandon their weapons and surrender are being evacuated to rebel-controlled areas in northern Syria, mainly Idlib.
As part of the agreement with the Syrian authorities, terrorists are leaving behind medium-sized and heavy weapons like those found on Saturday.
Before the evacuation in the cities of Yelda, Babila and Beit Sahem, terrorists abandoned hundreds of weapons and ammunition, including mortar launchers, machine guns, rockets and mortars, gunpowder, precursors to homemade explosives as well as Israeli-made land mines, Syrian state agency SANA reported, which posted a video of the armaments.
This is not the first time weapons made by Israelis are found in the hands of militants. In February, it was reported that the Syrian Army found warehouses that were full of weapons, some of which were Israeli-made, while inspecting the areas of Al-Boukamal and Al-Mayadin in Deir ez-Zor province of eastern Syria, which was liberated by the Syrian Army from ISIS last year.
Since the beginning of hostilities in Syria, the Syrian military has repeatedly seized weapons and ammunition with Hebrew inscriptions. In April 2016, Syrian forces detained a vehicle packed with mines, mortars, rockets and hand grenades manufactured by Israel and destined for an ISIS-controlled area in eastern Syria.
Israel says it provides humanitarian assistance to Syrian forces opposed to the government, but remains silent about the apparent supply of weapons. Meanwhile, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in February that at least seven terrorist groups in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are receiving weapons and ammunition from Israel. In addition, the amount of direct military assistance they receive is being increased in recent months.
Syria had already accused Israel of waging a war through its allied militias with Assad saying Israeli authorities were on the side of terrorists “whether logistically or through direct attacks on our army.”
This comes at a time of growing tensions between the two countries and just days after Israel launched a series of rockets against Iranian targets in Syria in retaliation for an alleged attack by the Iranian Quds forces on Israeli positions in the Golan. At least three people were killed and two wounded in the bombing, which was condemned by Iran as a flagrant violation of Syria’s sovereignty.