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      Kara: Israel Willing to Treat Syrian Casualties

      Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara says Israel would be willing to help treat casualties from the ongoing fighting in Syria.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 6/10/2012, 5:16 AM

      The bodies of people whom anti-government protesters say were killed by government security forces l
      The bodies of people whom anti-government protesters say were killed by government security forces l
      Reuters

      Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara said on Saturday that Israel would be willing to help treat casualties from the ongoing fighting in Syria.

      Speaking during a meeting with Druze youths in the Golan Heights, Kara said, “Israel is ready to receive casualties who would be evacuated from Syria to Israel and, alternatively, we are ready to fly medical aid via Jordan to those children and infants whose families were destroyed by the Syrian regime’s massacres.”

      Kara’s comments were made in the wake of riots and arrests that took place in a Druze stronghold in Syria.

      During the meeting, Kara was presented with evidence that clearly indicates the use of chemical weapons by the regime material, including photos of big black clouds suspected as containing chemical material over the areas where battles between rebels and regime forces have been taking place.

      Syrian opposition sources claimed on Thursday that aircraft belonging to the Syrian Air Force dropped toxic material into the province of Daraa, which smells like sulfur and causes drowsiness and unconsciousness.

      It was also reported that Assad’s forces had used unidentified gas shells on civilians in Daraa, Hama and Deir ez-Zor.

      Kara maintains close contacts with representatives of the Syrian opposition and was placed in charge of coordinating the transfer of humanitarian aid from Israel to Syrian citizens.

      Syrian exiles have told Kara’s bureau chief that “The declaration by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Israel will transfer humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people proves that Israel is the only humanitarian country in the Middle East.”

      Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported on Saturday that troops battled rebels in the streets of the Syrian capital of Damascus, a show of boldness for rebels taking their fight against President Bashar Assad to the center of his power.

      According to the report, for nearly 12 hours of fighting that lasted into the early hours Saturday, rebels armed mainly with assault rifles fought Syrian forces in the heaviest fighting in the Assad stronghold since the 15-month-old uprising began.

      UN observers told AP rebels fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the local power plant, damaging parts of it and reducing six buses to charred shells.

      At least three tank shells slammed into residential areas in the central Damascus neighborhood of Qaboun, an activist said. Intense exchanges of assault-rifle fire marked the clash, according to residents and amateur video posted online.

      At least 52 civilians were killed around the country outside Damascus on Saturday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Among them were 20, including nine women and children, who died in heavy, pre-dawn shelling in Daraa, where the uprising against Assad began in March 2011.

      Six children were among 10 killed by a shell that exploded in a house they took cover in during fierce fighting in the coastal region of Latakia, the group said.

      On Friday, UN monitors got their first direct look at a farming village where nearly 80 men, women and children were reportedly killed in the latest massacre in Syria.

      The monitors said they found body parts and damaged homes.