Image: Syrian Arab Red Crescent rescue teams at a collapsed building in Aleppo
We’ve all seen the pictures. On February 6, a 7.8-degree earthquake struck broad swathes of northern Syria, along with neighboring portions of Türkiye…
Türkiye has a functioning government, and since the earthquake it has received and deployed significant amounts of aid from all around the world. But Syria? The delivery of aid to that country’s people is hamstrung by the super-harsh sanctions that Washington and the EU have maintained on the country for many years now. These sanctions inflict their greatest harm on the government-held parts of the country, but they also seriously impede the flow of aid to residents of the rebel-held parts.
In northwestern Syria, the quake destroyed apartment buildings, mosques, and vital bridges in both the government-held and the rebel-held areas.
On February 9 the UN’s Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen stressed that, “We need to do everything to make sure that there are no impediments whatsoever to delay lifesaving support that is needed in Syria.” He added that representatives of the United States and the EU had assured him, “they will do whatever they can to make sure that there are no impediments to assistance coming to Syria to help in this operation”.
Let’s hope that happens. Back on February 6, shortly after the earthquake struck, State Department spokesman Ned Price said glibly that, “It would be quite ironic if not even counterproductive…for us to reach out to a government that has brutalized its people over the course of a dozen years now.”Continue reading “Syria’s quake response: A window into the grisly (but declining) impact of U.S. sanctions worldwide”