Israel to send earthquake relief to Syria as well as Turkey

Israel is sending aid to Syria as well as Turkey as they grapple with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that killed over a thousand people in the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel had received requests through diplomatic channels to assist in Syria, and that aid would be provided there.

“A request was also received to [provide relief] for the many who were injured in the earthquake in Syria,” Netanyahu said, and therefore he has “instructed that this be done.”

Israel plans to send tents, medication and blankets to Syria.

In addition, a senior political official said that Israel would receive wounded Syrians for medical treatment if a request was made.

Netanyahu also said he sends condolences to the citizens of Turkey, and that “at the request of the Turkish government, I have instructed extraction, rescue, and medical relief teams.”

“That is how we operate around the world, and also how we operate nearby,” he said in a statement.

The first of two Israeli teams – a small delegation tasked with gaining an initial picture of the situation on the ground – was set to head out.

A second flight, slated to depart overnight, will contain the IDF Home Front Command search and rescue team. Reservists in the unit told The Times of Israel that for now, only officers and doctors were to be part of the delegation.

The military is calling the operation “Olive Branches.”

The IDF has still not decided which airport it will fly into. Adana and Malatya, both in southern Turkey, are both options.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and ministry Director General Ronen Levi headed an “emergency meeting” with Israel’s envoy to Ankara Irit Lillian and other diplomats to discuss the situation. He spoke several hours later with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and discussed the dispatch of Israeli assistance.

“In the name of the State of Israel, I would like to express deep sorrow to the Turkish people over the severe earthquake that struck southern Turkey tonight,” said Cohen.

“Our hearts are with the casualties, and we wish a speedy recovery to the injured. I’ve instructed the Foreign Ministry to lead a rapid assistance plan to Turkey to deal with this difficult disaster,” he added.


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