Israel is assisting Syrian Kurds battered by a month-old Turkish incursion, seeing them as a counterweight to Iranian influence and advocating for them in talks with the United States, Reuters cited the deputy Israeli foreign minister as saying on Wednesday.
Ankara launched its assault targeting the Kurdish YPG militia after the abrupt withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria in early October, a move Kurds deemed a betrayal by Washington, their partner in fighting Islamic State.
In a rare public dissent with U.S. President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered humanitarian aid to the “gallant Kurdish people” on Oct. 10, saying they faced possible “ethnic cleansing” by Turkey and its Syrian allies.
Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, told parliament on Wednesday that the offer had been taken up, according to Reuters.
“Israel has received many requests for assistance, mainly in the diplomatic and humanitarian realm,” she said. “We identify with the deep distress of the Kurds, and we are assisting them through a range of channels.”
Syrian Kurdish officials could not immediately be reached for comment, according to Reuters.