Kurdish politician urges Israeli diplomatic intervention to stop Turkish assault
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Kurdish politician urges Israeli diplomatic intervention to stop Turkish assault

Speaking to Israeli radio, lawmaker calls for action ‘to save the Kurdish people,’ as authorities ask for humanitarian corridor, accuse Ankara of using banned weapons in Syria

This picture taken on October 17, 2019 from the Turkish side of the border with Syria in the Ceylanpinar district city of Sanliurfa shows smoke and fire rising from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn during the Turkish offensive against Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria. (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP)
This picture taken on October 17, 2019 from the Turkish side of the border with Syria in the Ceylanpinar district city of Sanliurfa shows smoke and fire rising from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn during the Turkish offensive against Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria. (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP)

A Kurdish politician in a northern Syrian city has spoken to an Israeli radio station, asking the Jewish state to help his people and saying the whole region would suffer if the Turkish operation in the Kurdish area isn’t stopped.

“We hope Israel will take action in the diplomatic arena to save the Kurdish people,” the politician from the city of Qamishli, who was only named by the first Hebrew letter of his first name — Alef — told Army Radio on Thursday. “If the problems aren’t solved, the entire Middle East will be adversely affected.”

“As a result of the Turkish offensive, [Islamic State] terrorists have escaped prisons,” he added. “If they reach countries in the region they will be ticking time bombs.”

Kurdish authorities on Thursday also called in a statement for a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from a flashpoint border town encircled by Ankara’s forces, as Turkey’s offensive entered its ninth day.

The appeal for a civilian exit from Ras al-Ayn comes after Turkey’s Syrian proxies hit a health facility in the town, trapping patients and staff inside, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The embattled Kurdish authorities also accused Turkey of resorting to banned weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus munitions, a charge Ankara has denied.

The use of such weapons since the start of the cross-border assault by Turkey and its Syrian proxies could not be confirmed independently.

A woman stands along the side of a road on the outskirts of the town of Tal Tamr near the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ayn along the border with Turkey in the northeastern Hasakeh province on October 16, 2019, with the smoke plumes of tire fires billowing in the background to decrease visibility for Turkish warplanes during the continuing deadly cross-border Turkish offensive against Syria’s Kurdish forces that has sparked an international outcry. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)

“The Turkish aggression is using all available weapons against Ras al-Ayn,” the Kurdish statement said.

“Faced with the obvious failure of his plan, Erdogan is resorting to weapons that are globally banned such as phosphorus and napalm,” the statement added.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Thursday denied the charges.

“It is a fact known by everyone that there are no chemical weapons in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces,” he told reporters.

He accused Syria’s Kurds of “using the chemical weapons (themselves) in a bid to blame us.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group with a wide network of sources on the ground, could not confirm the use of napalm or white phosphorus.

A Syrian girl newly displaced by the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria weeps on a bus upon her arrival at the Bardarash camp, north of Mosul, Iraq, October 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

But Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said there had been a spike in burn wounds over the past two days, mostly casualties brought in from the Ras al-Ayn area.

Kurdish officials posted a video on social media showing children with burns one doctor in Hasakeh province argues are consistent with the use of banned weapons.

Made notorious by their widespread use by US forces in the Vietnam War, napalm and related chemicals are mixtures of a gelling agent and a volatile petrochemical used in incendiary bombs.

White phosphorus can be used to create a smoke screen or as a battlefield marker, but it can also be deployed as a deadly incendiary weapon, a use prohibited under international law.

A spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, the autonomous Kurdish region’s de facto army, called on international organizations to send in experts.

“We urge international organizations to send their teams to investigate some wounds sustained in attacks,” Mustefa Bali said on social media.

“The medical facilities in NE Syria lack expert teams,” he added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has so far ignored international pressure to halt the offensive, which has killed dozens of civilians and forced more than 300,000 people to flee their homes.

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