While Millions Of People Suffer In Subzero Temperatures, The Syrian Earthquake Help Continues

After last week’s earthquake and significant aftershocks, which have killed at least 33,000 people, the US has urged all parties operating in Syria to provide prompt humanitarian aid to those in need.

On Sunday, a White House National Security Council spokesman stated, “all humanitarian assistance must be permitted to pass through all border crossings.”

According to the UN, up to 5.3 million people are reportedly homeless in Syria alone, and at least 870,000 people across Turkey and Syria urgently require hot meals. According to Turkey, 80,000 people are hospitalised, and more than 1 million stay in temporary housing.

While Millions Of People Suffer In Subzero Temperatures, The Syrian Earthquake Help Continues
While Millions Of People Suffer In Subzero Temperatures, The Syrian Earthquake Help Continues

Despite the bitterly cold winter weather, tens of thousands of rescuers continue to search destroyed neighbourhoods. More than a week after the earthquake, survivors are still being pulled from the rubble in declining numbers.

Most of the 3,500 recorded deaths in Syria have occurred in the northwest, primarily in regions controlled by rebels.

Because government frontlines are closed off, and there is just one border crossing connecting the area to Turkey to the north, the region has received minimal aid. Last week, the Syrian government declared its willingness to provide help to the region’s north.

Washington urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to provide everybody prompt access to humanitarian aid.

According to a UN spokeswoman, “approval concerns” with a hardline organisation that dominates most of the region have also delayed the delivery of earthquake relief from government-held areas of Syria into the opposition-controlled territory.

One of the worst affected areas by the earthquake was the northwest, which is mainly controlled by the Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). HTS is categorised as a terrorist organisation by the US and the UN.

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An unnamed HTS source informed Reuters that the organisation would not accept supplies from Syria’s areas under government control. The insider declared, “We won’t allow the regime to take advantage of the circumstance to show they are helping.”

When Assad and the president of the World Health Organization met on Sunday in Damascus, Assad expressed his willingness for more excellent border crossings to help get aid to the rebel-held northwest.

The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told reporters that he was willing to consider more cross-border access points for this emergency.

Tedros stated that the WHO was still awaiting approval before entering rebel-held areas.

The US is also urging the UN security council to agree to allow more border crossings between Turkey and the region of northwest Syria controlled by rebels so that aid can pass through.

Due to a security council authorisation, the UN has assisted millions of people in need in northwestern Syria through Turkey since 2014. However, it can only use one border crossing at the moment.

Martin Griffiths, the UN’s chief of humanitarian affairs, who is currently in Turkey and will soon travel to Syria, said on Saturday that he would petition the security council to approve access for humanitarian aid through two more border crossings, claiming there is “an obvious humanitarian case.”

The people of north-east Syria, according to Griffiths, who will brief the security council on Monday, “rightly feel abandoned” after being let down.

According to diplomats, the Security Council has not yet received any draught resolutions approving additional crossings.

The veto power of permanent members Russia, China, the United States, the United Kingdom, or France may scuttle any resolution. Russia, a friend of Syria, asserted that the current council directive for a single border crossing was adequate.

Deliveries of humanitarian aid across the border without its consent are seen as a violation of sovereignty by the Syrian government.

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