Israel is helping Syria’s Kurds see them as a counterweight to Iranian influence as they defend them in talks with the United States, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovli said on Wednesday.
In a rare public disagreement with US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered humanitarian aid to the “steadfast Kurdish people” on October 10, saying the Kurds had been “ethnically cleansed” by Turkey and its Syrian allies.
Israel’s deputy foreign minister told parliament on Wednesday that the offer had been approved.
“Israel has received a lot of requests for assistance, especially in the diplomatic and humanitarian fields.
We’re aware of the great plight of the Kurds and we are helping them through several channels”, she said.
Syrian Kurdish officials weren’t immediately available for comment, and Hotovli didn’t give any details about Israeli aid other than saying that during the “dialogue with the Americans we express what we really see about the Kurds and we’re proud to stand by the Kurdish people”.
Israel has maintained secret military, intelligence and trade ties with the Kurds since the 1960s, considering the ethnic minority as a buffer between itself and common enemies.
“In fact, Israel has a major interest in maintaining the strength of the Kurds and other minorities in the northern region of Syria as moderate and pro-Western elements”, Hotovli said.
“The potential collapse of Kurdish control in northern Syria is a negative and dangerous scenario for Israel.
It is quite clear that such a move would encourage negative elements in the region led by Iran”.