Israel on Thursday slammed Turkey’s “invasion” of Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria and warned against “ethnic cleansing” of the Kurdish people, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
“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,” the statement said.
“Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people.”
Turkey’s operation launched Wednesday has sparked international outrage, raising fears of a new refugee crisis in northern Syria and concern that thousands of jihadists being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could use it as an opportunity to escape.
The operation had seemed almost inevitable after US President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that American troops deployed in the area were pulling back from the border.
Trump has tried to justify the de facto green light he gifted his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for an assault seen as a blatant betrayal of Washington’s erstwhile Kurdish allies.
Netanyahu has been careful not to be seen as criticising Trump, who has provideSyd him with strong backing since taking office, but the US leader’s perceived abandonment of the Kurds has provoked deep concern in Israel.
Israelis have questioned whether their country could be abandoned in a similar way by its most important ally in addition to longstanding concerns over whether arch-enemy Iran will move to fill any vacuum in neighbouring Syria.
Netanyahu has also had tense relations with Erdogan, a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause.