Israel will send humanitarian aid to Syria in response to a request from Syria was relayed through Russia to Israel’s National Security Council on Monday after two massive earthquakes leveled buildings in that country as well as in Turkey, where the epicenters of both temblors were located.
More than 2,000 people have been confirmed dead in the earthquakes that struck both countries earlier in the day.
Israel will send medicine, blankets and tents to Syria in response to Syria’s request for assistance, Israel’s KAN News public broadcaster reported. In addition, Israel is willing to treat Syrians in Israeli hospitals or in Turkish territory, according to Haaretz.
Syria, still officially in a state of war with Israel, was badly damaged in the quakes. The provinces of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, Tartous and Idlib particularly hard-hit, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that a request for assistance was received from Syria. “Since 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,” he said in a statement.
As a result, Israel launched ‘Operation Olive Branch’ to assist with recovery and repair efforts in both Turkey and Syria.
An initial Israeli team is already on the ground to survey the area and gain an initial picture of the situation. A larger delegation is expected to arrive later Monday night.
In addition, the United States has ordered its USAID project and other federal partners to assess how the agencies can best help the victims in Turkey and Syria.
“Our initial assistance response to Türkiye is already underway, and US-supported humanitarian organizations in Syria are responding to the earthquakes’ effects across the country,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
“We are determined to do all that we can to help those affected by these earthquakes in the days, weeks, and months ahead.”