Dozens of Syrians waving white flags and seeking refuge near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights were turned away by Israeli soldiers, according to a local journalist and video from Reuters.
Israeli troops ordered them to return to a nearby camp that is sheltering civilians who have fled the latest offensive by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on rebel-held areas in the country’s south.
On Tuesday morning, Syrian media activists told CNN that a family of 10 Syrians were killed in a regime strike on a school sheltering displaced people.
Through loudspeakers, Israeli soldiers told the displaced Syrians in Arabic to turn back. “Good morning, people. Go back from the border. You are on the border of the State of Israel. Go back, before something bad happens. Go back, go back,” an Israeli soldier could be heard saying in a Reuters video.
Journalist Marcel Miaree witnessed the incident. “Fewer than 200 displaced Syrian civilians approached the border fence between the Occupied Golan Heights and the Syrian side, carrying white cloth and chanting for international protection,” Miaree told CNN on Tuesday.
“For its part, the Israeli military, using loudspeakers, asked the Syrians to return to the Burayqah camp; in turn, the Syrian civilians moved back without any incident.”
Burayqah is one of the camps housing Syrians displaced from the Quneitra countryside. More than 300,000 people have been displaced by the recent regime offensive, according to the UN.
More than 4,800 Syrian civilians have received medical treatment in Israel, according to the Israeli military. None of them remained in Israel and all the wounded were returned to Syria after their treatment was complete, the military said.
Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 after capturing it from Syria in the Six Day War in 1967. The international community has never recognized the annexation and regards the Golan Heights as Israeli-occupied territory.
Last week, Syrian troops entered the city of Daraa, considered the cradle of Syria’s revolution and a rebel bastion, and raised the government’s flag.
Regime forces have swept through several southern towns, and struck a deal with rebel groups in Daraa. The militants were ordered to “hand over heavy and medium weapons” if they wished to remain in the area, according to Syria’s official news agency SANA. “Those who refuse reconciliation will be evacuated,” the agency reported last week.
Kareem Khadder reported from Amman. Tamara Qiblawi reported from Beirut. Ian Lee in Jerusalem and Sarah El Sirgany in Abu Dhabi contributed to this report.