Carter Center calls for assurances that sanctions will not block Syria earthquake aid

AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki
Syrian Civil Defense workers and security forces search through the wreckage of collapsed buildings in Aleppo, Syria, on Feb. 6, 2023. A powerful earthquake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and Syria, killing and injuring thousands of people.

The Carter Center called on governments that have active sanctions against Syria and key actors in the region to ensure that necessary aid can be delivered unhindered to the Middle Eastern country as it continues to recover from Monday’s devastating earthquake. 

“The Carter Center is deeply saddened by the earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation in Syria,” the nonprofit organization said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The organization noted that it’s crucial for relief aid to reach communities affected by the earthquake. It called for governments that have implemented sanctions against Syria to make any necessary assurances so that established humanitarian exceptions can be used to expedite the delivery of aid to the country and for regional governments and local authorities to ease border controls.

“Both these steps are necessary to facilitate the flow of assistance to those in need,” the organization said.

The statement comes after Muhannad Hadi, the United Nations regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syrian crisis, told The Associated Press that access to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing along the Turkish-Syrian border has been blocked, preventing trucks carrying humanitarian aid from getting to civilians in the northwest region of the country.

Many civilians living in that region have relied on humanitarian aid amid the ongoing conflict between the country’s government and rebel groups. The U.S. and other Western countries have implemented sanctions against Syria and its president, Bashar Assad, over the civil war. 

More than 11,000 people have died after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria early Monday morning, leveling hundreds of buildings and leaving behind extensive damage. Rescue crews have tried to dig through the rubble to find survivors. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who declared a three-month state of emergency in the hardest-hit areas of the country, said he’s confident the rescue efforts will improve after problems with the government’s initial response.

Tags Bashar al-Assad Earthquake Humanitarian aid Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Syria The Carter Center Turkey

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