Daily Israel Report

IDF: No Plans to Absorb Syrian Refugees

The IDF spokesman's office says remarks by IDF Chief of Staff Gantz about plans to absorb Syrian refugees were taken 'out of context'
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 1/10/2012, 7:36 PM

Yoav Mordechai
Yoav Mordechai
Flash 90

IDF spokesman Brigadier General Yoav "Poly" Mordechai said Tuesday that journalists who reported on preparations to absorb Alawite refugees from Syria had taken Chief of Staff Benny Ganz "out of context."

Mordecai wrote, "During the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting a Knesset member asked the CoS whether we are prepared for an eventuality in which Alawite refugees try to flee to the Golan. The Chief of Staff answered that we are prepared for such an eventuality."

"I left the meeting and found Israel's media had reported the IDF is preparing to receive refugee Alawites of Syria. Those headlines are misleading and wrong – that the IDF has planned for an eventuality in which Israel absorbs Syrian refugees doesn't mean the plan will be put into effect," Mordecai stressed.

During the meeting in question Ganz said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot hold on to power indefinitely and that his downfall was expected to cause a radical shift in power in Damascus.

Such a shift could lead members of Syria's Alawite minority, from which Assad hails, to seek refuge anywhere possible - including crossing into Israel if need be.

Gantz also told the committee that the IDF had prepared war fighting plans in the event Assad launched an attack on Israel in an act of desperation.