Israel actively aiding Syrian Kurds after US betrayal
Israel is aiding Syrian Kurds battling to hold off a Turkish invasion against Kurdish areas of northeastern Syria, seeing them as a counterweight to Iranian terrorism and advocating for them in talks with the US, deputy Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely said.
Turkey and its jihadist proxies in Syria invaded the Kurdish-controlled areas on October 9, after 1,000 US troops pulled back from the border and started withdrawing from the northeast altogether, a move Kurds deemed a betrayal by Washington, their partner in fighting ISIS terrorists.
In a rare public dissent with President Trump, PM Netanyahu offered humanitarian aid to the “gallant Kurdish people” on Oct. 10, saying they faced possible ethnic cleansing by Turkey and its terror proxies in Syria.
Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, told parliament on Wednesday that the offer had been taken up.
“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.”
Israel has maintained discreet military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s, regarding the minority ethnic group — whose indigenous population is split between Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran – as a buffer against shared adversaries.
Chief among those today are Iranian-sponsored forces deploying close to Israel’s borders, including within Syria.
“Israel indeed has a salient interest in preserving the strength of the Kurds and the additional minorities in the north Syria area as moderate and pro-Western elements,” Hotovely said.
“The possible collapse of the Kurdish hold in north Syria is a negative and dangerous scenario as far as Israel is concerned. It is absolutely clear that such an event would bring about a bolstering of negative elements in the area, headed by Iran.”
Last month, a pro-Kurdish protest organized by IDF ex-officers took place outside the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv following an official appeal to Defense and Prime Minister Netanyahu and to IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.
“We, as Jews and Zionists, have the moral obligation to stand by the Kurds. We cannot abandon our allies and we need to stand side by side”, Maj. (res.) Yair Fink said.