Jabhat al Nusra fighters
Jabhat al Nusra fighters Screenshot

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem on Sunday accused Israel of “aiding the rebels in Syria.” His proof: “Every time the Syrian army advances” and positions itself to retake territory from the rebels who are fighting against the government of Bashar al-Assad, “there is an Israeli strike, either land-based with tanks, or from the air. I say that this proves that Israel is a main partner of Jabhat al-Nusra, the Al-Nusra Front, which is fighting against our forces on our southern border,” he said.

As further evidence, al-Muallem pointed out a comment by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. “We are not the first to point out this partnership,” al-Muallem said. “The Israelis themselves say it. Moshe Ya'alon said that Al-Nusra is a 'mild' group, even though it is on the list of international terror organizations. Ya'alon even proudly pointed out that some members of the group are getting treatment in Israeli hospitals,” al-Muallem added.

It's not clear to what al-Muallem was referring. In a recent interview, Ya'alon took a tough stance aganst Al-Nusra. “We enjoy a relatively calm situation on the border of the Golan Heights. They understand that if they violate our sovereignty, we immediately respond,” he said, in a discussion of the different terror groups operating in Syria and prospects of a breakup of the country.

“Israel is seeking to set up a 'buffer zone' between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Jordan, through the employment of Al-Nusra,” al-Muallem added. “This is what they did in South Lebanon. They are encouraging terror elements to enter Syria via Jordan.”

Israel had no comment, but a diplomatic source said that al-Muallem "had been rumored to have been ill recently, but we didn't realize that it was a mental health issue."