As the fighting between Syrian rebels
and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad
intensifies, some 100 Israeli Druze students who are currently in Damascus are asking to return to Israel
immediately, Ynet learned Sunday.
The students, who reside in the northern Golan Heights,
are visiting the Syrian capital as part of their studies. They have asked the Red Cross
to return to Israel due to the deteriorating security situation in Syria.
Their return is being delayed because of difficulties in securing a student convoy from Damascus
to the Quneitra border crossing.
Violence in Damascus (Photo: AP)
The request to return to Israel was sent by the students' families to a Red Cross representative who is in charge of the passage of Druze
into and out of Syria.
Quneitra border crossing (Photo: Yoav Zitun)
"For the time being we cannot coordinate the students' return to Israel, but we will do so when it is possible from a security standpoint," Red Cross spokesman in Israel Ran Goldstein told Ynet. "The situation in Syria is deteriorating. Entire neighborhoods are cut off due to the fighting, and people have been forced to leave their homes and stay in some 60 schools. Just last week, we were told by our colleagues in Syria, some 18,000 Syrian refugees crossed into Lebanon."
Viam Amasha, a relative of some of the Druze students in Syria, said "they want to return to their homes at once because of the precarious situation in Syria. Some of the students are afraid to leave their apartments (in Damascus).
"Some of them said they have run out of bread. Their lives are in danger," said Amasha, who was released from an Israeli jail as part of the Shalit prisoner
exchange deal. "We're waiting for the Red Cross to take the necessary steps to bring them home safe and sound.
"It's time to topple the Syrian regime and democratically elect a new one," he stated.
In June, some 50 Druze, mostly students, returned to Israel after visiting Damascus. Since May only one Druze made the trip from the Golan Heights to Damascus.