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Syrian Islamist group: We have no beef with Israel

- Associated Press - Monday, July 1, 2013

A spokesman for a Syrian Islamist group says his fighters are not at war with Israel, and they don't intend to use the conflict to oust President Bashar Assad as a launching pad to attack Israelis.

"We are only here to fight Assad," said Laeth Horan, the spokesman for the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, the group that kidnapped U.N. peacekeepers in March and May, in The Times of Israel. "We want nothing from Israel and we want Israel to know this."

Military experts have warned that groups such as the Brigade and the Sunni Free Syrian Army would take advantage of the conflict near the border as a means of launching attacks into Israel. Mr. Horan insisted, however, that wouldn't happen.

"There is nothing between us and Israel," he said in The Times of Israel. "We only have demands of Assad, even after the war. The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade has no international aspirations. We are only in conflict with the Assad regime."

He even praised Israel for providing medical treatment to wounded rebel fighters near the border. Israel has provided aid to more than two dozen Syrians injured in battle so far. And he said that even though the Golan Heights is contested territory — which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War — there "is nothing between us and them," and that's how the situation stands, "even in 10 years' time," The Times of Israel reported.

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