IDF vets organize pro-Kurdish protest in Tel Aviv

A YPG representative is expected to participate in the protest.

Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) run across a street in Raqqa, Syria  (photo credit: REUTERS/GORAN TOMASEVIC/FILE PHOTO)
Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) run across a street in Raqqa, Syria
(photo credit: REUTERS/GORAN TOMASEVIC/FILE PHOTO)
 A pro-Kurdish protest rally organized by IDF ex-officers is expected to take place in Tel Aviv on Tuesday afternoon following an official appeal to Defense and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.

The protesters are expected to gather at around 4 p.m. local time near the Turkish embassy and march toward the American Embassy on Yarkon Street in Tel Aviv, accompanied by a representative of the YPG – the People's Protection Units of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, also known as Rojava.

Following the retreat of US forces from northern Syria and the launch of Turkey's Operation Peace Spring along its border with Syria, many have expressed their concerns about likely human rights violations and war crimes committed by the Turkish army and by rebel groups backed by Turkey. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Turkey would resettle approximately 3.5 million Syrian refugees across the Turkey-Syria border, in Kurdish-controlled areas captured by the Turkish army within the so-called "safe-zone." 

The operation has been condemned internationally, with many fearing an ethnic cleansing of northern Syria within the border, and the creation of a "Kurd-free" buffer zone. Following the operation's announcement there have been numerous reports of civilian injuries and deaths.

"We, combat officers in reserve, call upon you, the heads of the defense system, to use your best endeavors to prevent the massacre of the Kurdish People," the protest's organizers said in a formal letter sent to Netanyahu and Kochavi last Thursday. "As Israelis and Jews, we cannot stand aside as we see another people being abandoned by our ally and left defenseless. We remember from the experience of our own people what may happen when world powers leave nations to their own fate."

The officers called upon the Israeli government to intervene in the military situation in Rojava, saying that "Israel is a state that possesses extensive capabilities that may help the Kurdish warriors, and it is time we do so," adding that "international pressure, food supplies, clothing, humanitarian aid, [and] ammunition supplies, along with intelligence and military consulting are not life-threatening actions, and they can be done within a very short time span.

"We know there are extensive strategic consequences [of such an intervention] and that we are not exposed to the full picture, yet we, who have been taught the values of personal example and the [value] of life, cannot stand silent and are happy to assist [the government] on the matter."

Operation Peace Spring has caused international outrage, with states calling upon direct action to prevent an extensive Turkish military intervention in Syria, with France calling for an emergency EU meeting. US President Donald Trump announced sanctions against Turkey in response to the operation, which were backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Users across Israeli social media have called for the boycott of Turkey after the operation was launched.