Despite being technically at war with Syria, Israel has offered to provide humanitarian aid and even to treat Syrian victims of Monday’s devastating earthquake at hospitals in the State of Israel.
While Syrian officials denied requesting aid from Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that the Jewish state received a request for aid from a third party. Hebrew media reported that this third party is Russia, whose military operates in Syria.
“A request was also received to do this – for the many who were injured in the earthquake in Syria, I have instructed that this be done as well,” Netanyahu said.
Syrian media called the statement propaganda on Netanyahu’s part.
“How can Syria request aid from a body that killed Syrians for decades?” a report in al-Watan said.
Al-Mayadeen, from Lebanon, also denied there was a request from Syria for help from Israel.
“The Zionist entity is the cause of the disasters and tensions in the region, and the last one who can talk about humanitarian aid... It is shameful that Netanyahu is taking advantage of the earthquake to lie and cover up the policy of the occupation,” the report said.
Though they are neighbors, Syria and Israel have never had diplomatic relations and are technically at war. Israel providing aid or medical help would be an unprecedented level of cooperation, even if it is routed through another country.
An Israeli rescue team is already on the ground in Turkey. The death toll from the 7.8-magnitude quakes – which was followed by another 7.6 and several more yesterday – has so far risen above 5,000 and is expected to reach 20,000 in both Turkey and Syria.
According to Haaretz, Israel will provide medicine, blankets and tents to Syria and medical treatment on Turkish soil or at Israeli hospitals.
Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.