Israel Offers Emergency Assistance to Turkey, Syria


People gather as rescuers search for survivors under the rubble, following an earthquake, in rebel-held town of Jandaris, Syria, on Monday. (REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi)

Israel offered to send emergency assistance to Turkey, which was struck by a major earthquake in the early hours of Monday morning.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant instructed the IDF “to prepare immediately to provide emergency assistance” through the IDF Home Front Command and Israeli rescue services while Foreign Minister Eli Cohen held an emergency meeting to discuss aid.

“The security forces are ready to offer any assistance that is required,” Gallant said in a statement.

Subsequently, he approved the establishment of an IDF military field hospital in the area of the disaster, to be coordinated with the Turkish authorities, his office said.

President Yitzchak Herzog offered condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressing Israel’s sorrow “for the loss of life and destruction of livelihoods.”

After more than a decade of strained relations, Israel and Turkey exchanged ambassadors in January.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel is prepared to extend its aid to earthquake-struck Syria as well, in a rare overture to the enemy Arab state.

“I ordered to send, at the request of the Turkish government, rescue teams and medical aid,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony in the Shiba Hospital in Ramat Gan. “Since a request was also received to do this for many victims of the earthquake in Syria, I instructed to do this as well,” he said.

According to an unnamed Israeli official, Syria had been the one to reach out to Israel to request aid. However, no further details to this end have been made public.

There were no reports of Israeli injuries or damage from the aftershocks, baruch Hashem.

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