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Israel asked US to prevent Turkish operation in northern Syria, officials reveal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) greets US President Joe Biden (R) during a closed-door meeting at the NATO summit at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Brussels, on June 14, 2021. [TUR Presidency/Murat Cetinmuhurdar - Anadolu Agency]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) greets US President Joe Biden (R) during a closed-door meeting at the NATO summit at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Brussels, on June 14, 2021. [TUR Presidency/Murat Cetinmuhurdar - Anadolu Agency]

Israel lobbied the US administration of President Joe Biden to prevent Turkiye from launching a new military operation in northern Syria, Israeli officials have reportedly revealed.

According to the news site Axios, two anonymous Israeli officials informed it that Israel's national security adviser Eyal Hulata told his American counterpart Jake Sullivan in recent weeks that a renewed Turkish offensive against Kurdish militias in northern Syria would assist Iran's regional interests.

In May, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the launching of a fourth major military operation against the armed Kurdish groups, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and People's Protection Units (YPG), which operate along the Syrian border with Turkiye and which Ankara insists threaten its national security.

READ: The Kurds may well have 'no friends but the mountains', but they do have Israel

Following Biden's meeting with Erdogan at the side-lines of the NATO summit late last month, where he urged the Turkish president not to proceed with the planned offensive, the military operation was put on hold. Erdogan has recently warned, however, that the plans have not been halted but will be carried out at a time of Turkiye's choosing.

Tel Aviv's lobbying of Washington to prevent the Turkish offensive on the basis of intercepting Iranian influence in the region is perplexing to many, as Tehran is not directly or openly in opposition to the Syrian Kurdish militias or in support of Ankara's plans. On the contrary, Iranian militias currently have a presence in some northern Syrian towns and areas, where they and Syrian regime forces have recently been deployed to assist the Kurdish militias against a Turkish operation.

Outside of the current situation, Israel has tended to support Kurdish groups over the years, being sympathetic to aims for a separate Kurdish state in the region. The Kurdish groups have reportedly reciprocated that approach, developing ties with Israel and allegedly conducting military training with Israeli support.

READ: Why does Israel support the establishment of a Kurdish state?

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