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Israel 'providing assistance' to Kurds after Trump 'betrayal'

Tzipi Hotovely is Israel's deputy foreign minister [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 November, 2019

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Israel has admitted to helping Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.
Israel has been helping Kurdish fighters in northern Syria since a partial United States withdrawal from the area, a senior official revealed on Wednesday.

"Israel has received many requests for assistance, mainly in the diplomatic and humanitarian realm," Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told the Knesset, according to Reuters.

Without giving details on the type of assistance, Hotovely said the assistance came amid "dialogue with the Americans… we state our truth regarding the Kurds…and we are proud of our taking a stand alongside the Kurdish people", she said in the Wednesday session.

"We identify with the deep distress of the Kurds, and we are assisting them through a range of channels," Hotovely added.

Hotovely added Israel was concerned that Iran-backed forces – allied with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad - could continue to use Syria as a proxy zone to extend their sphere of influence in the region.

"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," she said.

In mid-October, US President Donald Trump announced a withdrawal from northern Syria, but troops remain in the war-torn country.

Israel views rival Iran as an existential threat and has consistently urged the international community to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic to contain its military strength.

"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," she said.

Since the 1960s, Israel has retained military, intelligence and business relation with Kurdish figures, parties and factions, who seek to form their own independent state - Kurdistan.

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