Sanctions derail quake rescue work

DAMASCUS. – The death toll from recent devastating earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye has passed 20 000, with 17 406 people having died in Türkiye, while at least 3 317 have been killed in Syria.

On Monday, a magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck southern Türkiye and was followed by powerful aftershocks that caused widespread destruction and trapped thousands under rubble.

Türkiye’s southern province of Hatay and Syria’s northern Aleppo city suffered the most significant loss of lives.

In Syria’s disaster zones, rescuers are sometimes forced to dig through debris with their bare hands due to the lack of necessary equipment caused by years of US and European sanctions against the country.

Syrian officials have slammed Western countries for blocking the humanitarian work and rescue operations in the country. Responding to a question by China Media Group, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Bassam al-Sabbagh, said sanctions have blocked necessary aid, including medicine and heavy equipment from other countries, from reaching Syria.

Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) President Khaled Hboubati on Tuesday called for lifting the US and Western sanctions on Syria to facilitate relief efforts, as the country is in dire need of rescue equipment.

Speaking at a press conference in Damascus, the Syrian capital, Hboubati stressed that the SARC needs equipment, ambulances and heavy machinery, but “the main obstacle is the sanctions imposed on Syria, which we demand to be lifted immediately.”

Meanwhile,  the United Nations’ first convoy of aid crossed from Türkiye to Syria’s northwestern Idlib province yesterday, three days after the devastating earthquake, Anadolu Agency reported.

Six truckloads of aid entered the Bab al-Hawa border crossing through the Cilvegozu border gate in Türkiye’s southern Hatay province. –

You Might Also Like