Earthquake aid for Syria, why took so long?
Humanitarian aid has taken longer to reach earthquake victims in northern Syria than in other earthquake-prone areas. Those who dug through the rubble with their hands and those who lost loved ones want to know the reason for the delay.
Ramadan Hilal, a resident of the northern Syrian city of Jandiris, and his family left their home in panic. “Everybody was barefoot,” he told DW. We ran for our lives, got injured and couldn’t take anything from home.”
Now almost two weeks after the earthquake, the situation of Halal has not improved. Jendiris is one of the worst-hit towns in the region and Hilal, who fled his hometown of Aleppo seven years ago because of the Syrian civil war, now lives alone with his family near the remains of his home. is living in a tent made of
He is trying to retrieve usable items from inside the damaged house. “Even in the tent we are living in, I had to borrow an iron frame and buy a sheet myself to cover it,” he says. We have not received any assistance yet.”
Locals like Hilal, who are struggling to survive in harsh winters and sub-zero temperatures, say aid has come too late and too little. In recent days, many stories have emerged about survivors being pulled from the rubble. These rescue workers are clearing the debris with their bare hands, only hoping to reach the last ray of life of the people buried under the rubble, but the voices buried under the rubble are now finally falling silent.
Reason for delay
More than four million people live in the region, most of them Syrians displaced from other parts of the country during the country’s long civil war. The area is controlled by various groups opposed to the Syrian government.
Years of fighting, poor governance and direct attacks on infrastructure by Syria and its ally Russia meant that medical facilities and other emergency services were already strained or non-existent. The majority of civilians living in this part of Syria were already relying on international humanitarian aid to survive before this latest disaster.
And getting aid and supplies to the opposition-controlled area has long been a matter of politics.
Dictator Bashar al-Assad insists that all humanitarian aid be routed through Damascus. Syrian President Assad has reportedly used international aid to enrich himself and his supporters and to ensure that his enemies in opposition-held areas lack supplies. have to do
This is why at the start of the civil war in Syria, the UN and human rights organizations insisted that aid be delivered through the Turkish border, directly into opposition-held areas, and without permission from the Assad regime. . Thus, in previous years, most of the aid went to the opposition-held areas.
In mid-2014, Security Council members decided to allow UN humanitarian agencies and their partners to use four different border crossings. Two through Turkey and one each through Jordan and Iraq
Who is the real culprit?
After two devastating earthquakes in early February, by February 13, the Assad regime agreed that two more Turkish border crossings could be opened for three months. Assad’s supporters say international sanctions are to blame for the delay, while Assad’s critics say the Syrian government has deliberately waited so long for nefarious, political reasons.
Joseph Daher, an expert on Syrian affairs at the Italy-based European University Institute, told the Washington Post that opening the borders “is a way for the government to use this tragedy as a tool for its political purposes.”
“We have seen time and time again that the Syrian government is using such situations to increase its ability to deal with emergencies and to increase its control,” Marks, who works as a senior lawyer for the Middle East at Refugees International, said in a statement. Takes advantage
United Nations responsible
Meanwhile, some other elements have said that the United Nations was at fault. The Turkish government apparently agreed to open two more border crossings on February 8, but the UN decided to wait for the Syrian government’s consent. Raed Saleh, head of the Syrian volunteer rescue group the White Helmets, wrote for CNN this week, “When I asked the United Nations why aid failed to arrive in time, the answer I got was because of bureaucracy. Raed Saleh added, “In the face of one of the deadliest disasters to shake the world in years, it seems that the hands of the United Nations were tied with red tape.”
In Syria, groups like Tahrir al-Sham have turned away aid trucks because they refuse to accept anything from a government that has bombarded them for years, Human Rights Watch reports. By keeping the victim of hunger, they fired a bullet. Turkish-backed militia fighters did the same in other parts of northern Syria