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How West is Politicizing Provision of Aid to Syria, Trying to Capitalize on Disaster

 / Go to the mediabankA residential building destroyed by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that occurred on February 6 is seen in Aleppo, Syria / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaThe US, UK, and France are pushing ahead with a new resolution in the UN Security Council to step up supplying Syrian areas not controlled by Damascus, while ignoring the plight of the territories most affected by the quake, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Tuesday. In addition, the nation’s economy has been severely hit by Western sanctions.”Western sanctions destroyed all the structure of Syria, especially in the field of oil, energy and electricity,” Samiha Shalati, Syrian political and social activist, told Sputnik. “We have many difficulties in providing electrical supplies for the hospitals, which is very important for the doctors, for the physicians to work and help patients. As you know, oil is banned from coming to Syria under the Caesar Act. So you can imagine how difficult the situation is because the ambulance and machines, all they need, are all out of work and they need oil to work, of course. And without supplying them with the oil, which we need to be ready, especially for helping people in the earthquake in this emergency case.”On February 6, parts of Turkiye and Syria were hit by a series of powerful earthquakes and aftershocks which claimed the lives of nearly 40,000 people, most of them in Turkiye. However, US sanctions directly prevented the Syrian victims from receiving assistance in the first 72 hours. The Caesar Act, adopted by the Trump administration in 2019, is blocking imports of essential goods like food, energy, and basic medical supplies and equipment to the country.

Epitome of Western Hypocrisy

On February 10, the US Treasury said it would provide several months of sanctions relief for Syria in order to allow certain transactions for recovery efforts after it was hit by devastating earthquakes.However, in reality the US and its allies the UK and France are continuing to politicize humanitarian assistance to the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) and increase pressure on the nation.Western permanent members of the UN Security Council are trying to capitalize on Syria’s tragedy to infringe on the legitimate government of the SAR and discriminate against Syrians living in government-controlled territories, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.Washington, London, and Paris have attempted to ram a new resolution through the UNSC envisaging the expansion of the cross-border mechanism in Syria, the Russian ministry stated on Tuesday. The point is to add two more crossings to the Bab al-Hawa checkpoint – which is functioning until July 10, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2672 – to deliver aid to areas not controlled by Damascus without the consent of the Syrian government.WorldA Story of Pain: Earthquake Survivors in Syria’s Latakia Recall Horror13 February, 16:05 GMTEarlier, on February 13, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had ordered to open two additional delivery points – Bab el-Salam and El-Rayi – for the provision of humanitarian aid to the SAR from Turkiye.The Western countries’ resolution is de facto seeking to step up supplying only those areas which are not controlled by Damascus, including the terrorist enclave in Idlib, held by Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham* militants, according to the Russian ministry. Western governments have overlooked the fact that the most affected provinces are Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, and Homs (about 5.5 million people), and not northwestern Syria (27,000 people), the ministry emphasized.”Not only did Western countries fail to provide any support to Syria, but they continue to stifle the country with unilateral sanctions, that provoked a large-scale fuel crisis, and prohibit the import of vital goods and equipment, as well as money transfers,” the ministry’s February 14 statement said. “One should not forget that it is the US and its allies who have illegally occupied the Trans-Euphrates and At-Tanf and participate in the plunder and smuggling of Syrian natural resources – oil and grain with the total amount of losses, exceeding $107 billion, according to the Ministry of Oil and Natural Resources of the SAR.”The Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized that the West has ignored the official statement of the Syrian authorities about their readiness to promptly deliver humanitarian aid to all parts of the country. Similarly, the possibility to deliver goods through Syrian-controlled checkpoints has also been ignored by Western leadership. The fact that the operation of the Bab al-Hawa checkpoint was quickly restored allowing 30 trucks to pass has been kept on the hush, too. “At the same time, the Idlib militants did not allow the internal convoy from Damascus to pass for purely political reasons: they want to receive help only from Turkiye,” the ministry’s statement read.WorldVideo: Russia Aids Syrians in the Wake of Devastating Earthquake11 February, 13:56 GMT

Russia, China & Iran Stretching Out Helping Hand

Meanwhile, Russia, China, and Iran have been providing Syrians with humanitarian aid from the outset of the natural disaster, according to the Syrian activist.”I’d like to thank Syrians, Russia, Iran and China for helping our people in Syria by sending humanitarian teams and packages to Syria after the earthquake,” said Samiha Shalati. “Of course, the Western sanctions have complicated earthquake relief efforts in Syria because they didn’t get immediate help.””All the humanitarian teams and packages from our friends in Russia and Iran and China help the [Syrian] people who fled this horrific earthquake a lot, either by helping to get the people from under the ground or in bringing the shelters and packages full of food for the people. Of course, ordinary people appreciate greatly the contribution of our friends who rushed to help the Syrian people in their catastrophe while the West has largely refused to provide Syria with the relief assistance for the work,” she continued.WorldRussia’s Khmeimim Air Base Opens Warehouses to Distribute Aid to Syria’s Quake Victims13 February, 14:45 GMTRussian forces at the Khmeimim Air Base in Syria have been distributing humanitarian aid to the population affected by the earthquakes directly from their own warehouses. The decision to open the base to the Syrian population greatly accelerated the overall effort to help the victims, as Lt. Col. Alexander Vasiliev of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria told Sputnik.According to Vasiliev, humanitarian supplies to Khmeimim from Russia will be delivered daily, as long as necessary. In addition, a first-aid post is operating at the Russian airbase, providing medical assistance to the victims of the quakes.

"The Russian Army began to participate in rescue efforts, directly under the orders of the Russian Ministry of Defense," said Shalati. "Russia is always providing everything for people in Syria to survive and to continue their normal life. We used to see help from Russia for a very long time in the history of our relation between the two nations, as you know."

© Photo : Press Service of the Russian Defense Ministry / Go to the mediabankRussian military help eliminate consequences of the earthquake in SyriaRussian military help eliminate consequences of the earthquake in Syria / Go to the mediabankRussian servicemen are continuing to take part in eliminating the consequences of the earthquake in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, and Hama. On Sunday, Russian rescue teams completed the rescue operation in the Syrian city of Jableh, located 25 km south of Latakia.There are 65 temporary shelters for earthquake victims in Syria’s Latakia province alone. People are provided with shelter, food, and the opportunity to obtain temporary documents.

"Syria needs all kinds of help," the Syrian activist emphasized. "Syria needs help, especially in the field of oil and energy. We need oil for our driving, for our vehicles. We need oil for our electricity to work. We don't have electricity. We are freezing. We are freezing even inside our houses. We need urgent medical supplies, urgent food supplies, everything in Syria, everyone – all of us – need help. So I think it will be a very good idea for the international community to work together and not to politicize humanitarian issues like what's happening in the United States."

*Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham is a terrorist organization banned in Russia and other countries.


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