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Syrian Kurdish militia pleads for Israel's help against Turkey: report

The SDF has been pushed back from the Turkey-Syria border [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 October, 2019

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An officer from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces has reportedly pleaded for Israeli assistance against the Turkish military incursion in northern Syria.
A Syrian Kurdish militia official has urged Israel to aid the Kurds against a Turkish military operation in northern Syria, according to Israeli media reports on Monday.

The Syrian Democratic Forces official, who was not named, reportedly sent the plea to The Times of Israel via text message.

“The State of Israel must work to put an end to this war that is killing women and children and expelling civilians from their homes,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying.

The official added that they were confident the Jewish people would not leave the Kurds due to their own experience of persecution.

"I am certain that the Jewish people understand the situation of the Kurdish people best because it lived these types of dangers throughout much of its history. I am sure that it will not stand by idly as our region faces Turkey’s terror,” the SDF official reportedly said.

Approximately 275,000 people have fled as a result of the Turkish assault on north eastern Syria and dozens have been killed since Ankara launched the operation on October 9. 

A day after the operation was launched, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Ankara's actions, saying that his government was prepared to send humanitarian aid to Kurds in northern Syria.

“Israel strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies,” a statement from the Israeli leader's office said at the time. “Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people.”

SDF withdrawal 'complete'

A Turkish-backed Syrian armed group on Monday said that the Kurdish-led SDF have fully withdrawn from the flashpoint border town of Ras al-Ain.

Major Youssef Hammoud, a spokesperson for the Turkish-allied “Syrian National Army” (SNA) told The New Arab that the group had confirmed the full withdrawal of the SDF from its positions in Ras al-Ain. The town was the scene of heavy fighting between Turkish forces and the SNA on one side and the SDF on the other earlier this month.

Read more: Turkey, the Kurds and the demographic re-engineering of Syria

Hammoud said that the SNA and the Turkish army would not enter Ras al-Ain until a five-day period specified by a ceasefire agreement negotiated between Turkey and the US had expired. The agreement was negotiated last Thursday and the five-day period is due to end on Tuesday afternoon.

The withdrawal comes as part of the US-brokered ceasefire, which has been marred by ongoing clashes and both sides accusing each other of breaking the truce.

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