Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / Turkiye and Syria earthquake

Intl rescuers rush to devastated areas, but US sanctions block relief work

Updated: 2023-02-13 09:13
Share - WeChat
An injured child stands next to his brothers in front of a tent in Jindires, Syria, on Saturday. ANAS ALKHARBOUTLI/AP

ANKARA/DAMASCUS — International rescuers are racing against time searching for signs of life among the wreckage in quake-stricken regions, as the essential 72-hour window has closed. But sanctions by the United States on Syria have obstructed coordinated efforts to save lives in the country, triggering worldwide criticism.

Turkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is facing "one of the biggest disasters" of its modern history.

In Syria, where the economic situation is even worse than that of Turkiye, most quake-hit cities are still waiting for international aid, especially excavation equipment and medical supplies. Rescuers in Aleppo have to dig through the rubble with their bare hands due to a lack of rescue equipment.

People are railing against the US for retaining economic sanctions when Syria desperately needs help.

Salem Abu Al-Oyoun, a displaced Syrian who moved from Aleppo to Al-Wazani camp in southeastern Lebanon, said the decision of the US Treasury to temporarily ease sanctions is a big lie that does not serve the people who have suffered from the unjust US siege.

"The United States knows that the sanctions imposed on the Syrian people were unjust and led to worsening the living conditions of the Syrians over the past few years," said Kamal al-Jafa, a political expert.

Countries including China and the public are urging the US to lift its sanctions and blockade on Syria to allow much-needed aid to reach the disaster zone as soon as possible.

"Western countries don't need to send anything. Just remove lethal sanctions on Syria," Sharmine Narwani, a commentator and analyst of Middle East geopolitics, tweeted.

By maintaining the airspace's closure and blocking the entry of any medical or relief equipment to the area, the US' sanctions have prevented any effort to help the affected area's residents, said Mazen Shamieh, former assistant minister for the Palestinian Foreign Ministry.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday demanded an immediate lifting of US sanctions on Syria as the country is facing a serious humanitarian crisis.

"Even today, US troops still occupy Syria's principal oil fields, plunder more than 80 percent of the country's oil production, and have smuggled and burned Syria's grain stock, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis there," said Mao Ning, spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

"In the wake of the devastating earthquakes, the US should let go of its geopolitical obsession, immediately lift unilateral sanctions on Syria and open the door for humanitarian aid."


Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349