(Photo credit: AP)
Syrian Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad warned on 7 February that the severity of Monday’s earthquake that killed over 2,500 in northern Syria is being exacerbated by western sanctions that impede the delivery of humanitarian aid.
“US sanctions are prohibiting Syria from accessing anything, including medicine,” Mikdad told Al Mayadeen TV.
Syria’s top diplomat also appealed to US President Joe Biden, reminding him Damascus “[opened] border crossings to allow humanitarian aid to make it to armed-groups-held areas.”
“The aid making it to areas held by armed groups were being sold to the people,” he said. “They planned so that aid only makes it through to armed groups and terrorists, and Syria is ready to let aid make it to all regions on the condition that it does not make it into the hands of terrorists.”
Mikdad also highlighted that western sanctions on Syria have “made the disaster all the worse,” adding that “the situation is very hard, and regardless of the amount of aid sent to Syria, it needs much more.”
“Aid from Europe does not need a request and bureaucracy, as humanitarian aid is not subject to sanctions … in accordance with international laws, so this is not an excuse,” the Syrian official said regarding western states politicizing the catastrophe that shook Syria and Turkiye this week.
“Syria has suffered from double standards despite there being numerous countries in contact with Damascus through back channels,” Mikdad added.
He also denied Israeli claims of an alleged request for aid from the Syrian side.
International aid for Syria started pouring into the country on 7 February, as the first Iranian plane carrying humanitarian aid landed at Damascus International Airport.
Other states from West Asia and North Africa that have already delivered aid to Syria include Iraq, Jordan, Bahrain, the UAE, Algeria, Egypt, and Tunisia.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that as many as 23 million people could potentially be affected by the earthquake that struck Turkiye and Syria on 6 February.