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Six Syrian rebels hospitalized in Israel returned to Syria

JTA

February 27, 2013 | 9:50 am

Israeli soldiers travel on mobile artillery units after an exercise in the Golan Heights, near Israel's border with Syria, on Feb. 14. Photo by Baz Ratner/Reuters

Israeli soldiers travel on mobile artillery units after an exercise in the Golan Heights, near Israel's border with Syria, on Feb. 14. Photo by Baz Ratner/Reuters

Six wounded Syrian rebels who were treated in an Israeli hospital after being wounded in their country's civil war were repatriated.

The men were released Wednesday from Ziv Hospital in Safed and returned at an undisclosed location for their own safety, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

A seventh Syrian requires further treatment and remains in the hospital. 

The Syrians returned to their country at their own request, Ynet reported, citing an unnamed source. The return was not coordinated with the Red Cross since it would have required coordination with the Syrian government via the United Nations peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights, which could have endangered the men, according to Ynet.

The men were wounded Feb. 16 near Israel's security fence with Syria in the Golan Heights during clashes between the Syrian army and rebel forces in Syria's 2-year-old civil war. Israeli soldiers brought the Syrians to Ziv Hospital. One of the Syrians was severely wounded; the rest were injured from bullets and shrapnel, with some requiring surgery.

Also Wednesday, a mortar fired from Syria landed in an open area in the Golan Heights and did not explode. It is believed to have been mistakenly fired into Israeli territory, according to reports.

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