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Syrian Kurdish military official calls on Israel to take action against Turkey

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An official in the Syrian Democratic Forces called on Israel on Monday to take action against Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also expressed confidence that the Jewish people would not neglect the plight of Kurds in northern Syria, invoking its history of persecution.

“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 official told The Times of Israel in a text message.

Ankara launched a cross-border attack against Syria’s Kurds on October 9 after the US announced a military pullout from the north of the war-torn country.

Last Thursday, however, a US-brokered ceasefire was declared, giving the SDF until Tuesday evening to withdraw from a 30-kilometer buffer zone Turkey wants to create along its southern frontier.

Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), trained by the US-led coalition, participate in the graduation ceremony of their first regiment in al-Kasrah, a suburb of the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor (also Deir El-Zour), on May 21, 2018. (AFP Photo/Delil Souleiman)

Despite the announcement of the ceasefire, some fighting between Turkish and SDF forces has continued along the border.

The SDF has been a key ally to Washington in the US-backed fight against Islamic State group jihadists in Syria, but Turkey views its forces as terrorists linked to Kurdish militants on its own soil.

“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 said.

Since Turkey commenced its invasion, more than 300,000 civilians have been displaced, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Dozens of mainly Syrian Kurdish civilians have also been killed in fighting.

Amnesty International has accused Turkey’s miltiary as well as Turkish-backed militias of carrying out war crimes, exhibiting “a shameful disregard for civilian life.” The group also documented a Turkish-supported militia’s grim murder of a female, Syrian Kurdish politician.

On October 10, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced Turkey’s invasion of Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria and said Israel was prepared to offer humanitarian aid to the Kurds in 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,” Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office at the time. “Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a a faction meeting of his Likud party at the Knesset on September 23, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel has not announced whether it has attempted to deliver aid to the Syrian Kurds affected by the Turkish invasion.

On October 9, Yamina party chairwoman Ayelet Shaked also made a statement in support of the Syrian Kurds.

“Our national memory requires us to revolt against violence directed against another nation. Such is the Turkish violence directed against the Kurdish people in northern Syria,” the former justice minister wrote on Facebook.

“I have said this in the past: It is in the interest of both Israel and the United States, for the security and stability of the region, that a Kurdish state be established,” she wrote. “[The Kurds] are the main force that fought against ISIS and endured thousands of deaths, under a special joint leadership of men and women. The Western world should stand with them.”

AFP contributed to this article.

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