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Netanyahu says Syria requests quake relief, Israel ready to send it

TURKEY-QUAKE-SYRIA-NETANYAHU:Netanyahu says Syria requests quake relief, Israel ready to send it
TURKEY-QUAKE-SYRIA-NETANYAHU:Netanyahu says Syria requests quake relief, Israel ready to send it Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
Published on Updated
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JERUSALEM - Israel said on Monday that it had received a Syrian request for assistance with earthquake relief for the Arab state and that it was prepared to oblige, in what would be rare cooperation between the enemy neighbours.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech he had ordered Israeli aid sent to Turkey, the epicentre of Monday's earthquake, and that "since a request was also received to do this for many victims of the earthquake in Syria, I instructed to do this as well".

Syrian officials have reported hundreds killed in the civil war-torn country, both in areas under Damascus' control and in the opposition-held northwest.

Asked who had made the request regarding Syria cited by Netanyahu, an Israeli official told Reuters: "The Syrians". Asked if this referred to opposition members or to President Bashar al-Assad's government, the official said only: "Syria".

A second Israeli official said the request had been relayed to the Netanyahu government "by a diplomatic source".

There was no immediate Syrian response to the Israeli statements.

Israel and Syria have been in a state of war for decades, with periods of ceasefire. For a time, Israel helped Syrian rebels on the Golan Heights frontier, and in 2018 it worked with Jordan and the United States to evacuate Syrian "White Helmet" rescue workers and their families fleeing a government advance.

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