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Qatari emir blasts politicization of aid deliveries to Syria
Despite Al-Thani's condemnation of western double standards, Doha is staunchly against any normalization efforts with Damascus
By News Desk - March 06 2023
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(Photo credit: Sputnik/Andrey Stenin)

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on 5 March criticized the delay of humanitarian aid deliveries from the west to Syria following last month’s catastrophic earthquake.

“I stress the necessity of giving a helping hand without hesitation to the brotherly Syrian people. Exploiting a human tragedy for political purposes is unacceptable. There is no way through which we can build a new, safer, more just, and more free world for today and tomorrow except through the path of international human solidarity,” Al-Thani said at the opening of the UN Least Developed Countries conference in Doha.

“Our meeting is taking place while our brothers in Turkiye and Syria are still suffering from the impacts of the massive earthquake that struck them and affected millions,” the Qatari leader added.

Despite Al-Thani’s criticism, Doha has aligned with Washington in opposing any moves toward rebuilding ties with the Syrian government.

The Gulf state has been an active player in the Syrian conflict since 2011, playing an integral role in kickstarting the war by instigating defections from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), offering up to $50,000 in cash to soldiers and their families to defect and join the opposition.

Qatar also provided significant funding to Jabhat Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, which in 2016 rebranded itself and is now known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

In March of last year, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Bashar Al-Jaafari, said that one of the reasons for the war on Syria was Qatar’s interest in becoming Europe’s main natural gas supplier.

“One of the reasons for the war on Syria was the refusal [by Damascus] to extend the Qatari gas pipeline to Europe via Turkey to thwart the Russian pipeline,” the deputy foreign minister highlighted.

Arabic media reports from last month said Doha and Washington are encouraging HTS leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani to consolidate his power in Syria’s north – to establish full economic control over the region.

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