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Bouthaina Shaaban
Photo: AP
Assad aide: Signs indicate Israel's Mista'arvim aiding rebels
Assad's top aide claims elite unit involved in Quneitra battles, Israel main winner of Syrian conflict. In interview, she further claims Israel in cahoots with rebels, which she calls 'armed gangs'
In an interview to the Hezbollah affiliated Al Mayadeen network, Bouthaina Shaaban, the top political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad, claimed that the injured transferred to Israel during the fighting in Quneitra were Israeli soldiers and not rebels, which she called "armed gangs".

 

"When we hear that wounded from the armed gangs were transferred to Israel for medical treatment, I wonder whether these might be Mista'arvim" – the Border Guard's elite counter-terrorism unit, comprised of officers disguised as Arabs.

 

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"There are signs indicating that they are not members of the armed gangs but Israelis," she continued.

 


עשן מעל אזורי הקרבות ליד קוניטרה, אתמול (צילום: רויטרס)

Smoke over Quneitra (Photo: Reuters)

 

Shaaban further claimed that Israel and the rebels share a common goal and that Israel was the main winner from the current conflict in Syria, noting however that Israel's interest extend beyond the rebel's success.

 

"There is no doubt that Israel and the rebels share certain goals, at least in regard's to Israel's interests, and it is redundant to say that there is someone organizing and orchestrating these activities," she accused.

 

The senior aide also commented on the battles taking place not far from the Israeli border in the Golan.

  

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"The attack on the Quneitra crossing is part of an organized attack against Syria. There is little doubt that those benefiting the most and also aiding the armed rebels is Israel."

 

In response to a question regarding whether it is possible that Israel might benefit from the withdrawal of Austrian and Pilipino forces from the UNDOF peacekeeping force in the Golan she said: "I do not know how Israel could benefit from the UNDOF withdrawal, unless it wanted to engage even closer to the border, and I highly doubt it.

 

"I'm sure Israel was surprised by the Austrian decision (to withdraw), and from what I read in the media it seems Israel is quite displeased by it."

 


טנקים ישראלים בגבול (צילום: אביהו שפירא)

IDF tanks patrol Golan (Photo: Avihu Shapira) 

 

Regarding the withdrawal of the peacekeeping forces, a senior official with Syrian's foreign ministry said that "Damascus regrets the Austrian government's decision to withdraw its forces from the Golan," but nonetheless thanked the Austrians for the work they did.

 

According to the same source, "Damascus welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to send Russian forces to take the place of the Austrians in UNDOF."

 

Shaaban also hinted at Israel involvement in the fighting in Qusair a day after the Hezbollah affiliated Al Manar TV channel reported that weapons bearing Hebrew inscriptions were found in the Syrian town, recently retaken by Bashar Assad's forces and Hezbollah fighters.

 

"There is evidence that in Qusair those aiding and training rebels are people from a colorful array of nationalities," the senior Syrian aide said.

 

She further said that in the past there were those who attempted to sway her to defect and leave Assad, but she decided to stay loyal.

 

Earlier Saturday, the official Syrian state television reported that Assad's army has captured the last rebel stronghold in the war-torn town of Qusair near Homs.

 

A Lebanese website reported that some 40 people were wounded during the fighting.

 

 

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