Wounded Syrian treated in Israeli hospital dies


JERUSALEM (AP) — A Syrian wounded in the country's civil war and brought to Israel on Wednesday for medical treatment has died, a hospital spokesman said.

He was one of seven wounded Syrians who sought refuge at the border with the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights that morning. Israel's military said medics rushed to the site and treated five there before releasing them back to Syria. Two others, both with head wounds, were brought to northern Israel's Nahariya Hospital for the Western Galilee for emergency treatment and surgery.

Hospital director Masad Barhoum, one of a team of doctors that treated the Syrians, said medical staff did their best to save the life of the man who died, but he had suffered a bullet wound through the head that caused massive bleeding.

The other wounded Syrian is in critical condition, he said.

Hospital spokesman Hagai Einav said the wounded men are believed to be civilians because they were wearing jeans rather than uniforms when brought to the hospital. It was not clear how the Syrians were wounded or how they got to the border.

This is the third time Israel has assisted Syrians injured in Syria's civil war and brought them to the Jewish state for medical treatment, but this is the first time one of them has died.

Israel and Syria are bitter enemies and have fought several wars. Despite constant hostility between the two countries, both sides have been careful to keep the frontier quiet since the 1973 Mideast war.

Israel has warily watched the fighting in Syria raging close to its frontier with the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau it captured from Syria in the 1967 war. The Jewish state is concerned that some of the al-Qaida affiliated groups fighting alongside the rebels against the Syrian government forces could set their sights on Israel when the civil war ends.

Syria has over the years provided support and refuge for Israel's bitterest enemies, including the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.