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Syrian Rebel Leader Praises Minister Uri Ariel

Rebel leader talks to Israeli television, thanks Housing Minister for speaking out against chemical attack.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/2/2013, 5:45 AM

Housing Minister Uri Ariel
Housing Minister Uri Ariel
Flash 90

One of the leaders of the Syrian rebel groups had praise on Sunday for none other than Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the Bayit Yehudi party.

Abu Adnan, one of the rebel leaders in northern Syria, spoke to Israel’s Channel One News and expressed his appreciation for Ariel’s comments regarding the chemical attack near Damascus.

“Allow me to send a message of thanks and appreciation to Housing Minister Uri Ariel for his humane and valuable statements and for his beautiful expression of emotion toward the children killed in Syria and toward the women being killed in Syria,” Abu Adnan told the channel’s Arab affair analyst Oded Granot.

“We appreciate this stance and thank him very much,” he added.

Last week Ariel said that, as Jews who suffered during the Holocaust, Israelis could not be silent over what was going on in Syria.

“Of all people, we, who cried out, and have been asking to this day, 'how could the world have been silent?' – We, as people; we, as Jews, cannot remain silent in the face of genocide, no matter who it is and where it is. And I say to ourselves – first of all, to ourselves, as Jews; as citizens of Israel; as a minister in the government of Israel, there will not be another genocide. We will not allow it,” said Ariel.

“The Jews in Zion and Jews the world over have an obligation – not a right, an obligation of the first degree – to alert and wake up the entire world, everywhere, in the UN, in the U.S. and Europe – we are obligated to do this because we experienced this as a nation, and we are the Jewish people. I am already acting and I will continue to act so that this awareness will reach everywhere and that with the grace of G-d, we will stop this horror,” he declared.

In Sunday’s interview, Abu Adnan also told Channel One that the rebels were disappointed in America for choosing to postpone the military strike in Syria by seeking approval from Congress, but that they believed Israel could be instrumental in convincing the world to act against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.

“We believe that Israel could assist us greatly in bringing down this regime,” he said. “We, as the Syrian people, have discovered that our first and primary enemy is the Assad family, Hezbollah and Iran. The main enemy is this regime and not Israel.”

Israel has more than once clarified that it is not a part of the civil war in Syria and does not take sides in the fighting. At the same time Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned Assad that if he chooses to retaliate to an American strike by attacking Israel, the Jewish state will strike back “fiercely”.

Despite Israel’s clarifications that it is not taking sides, Assad, likely in an effort to win the support of the Syrian people, has claimed that Israel is assisting the rebels fighting to topple his regime.

A commander in the Syrian opposition recently claimed the exact opposite, that Israel was collaborating with Iran and Hezbollah to keep Assad in power.