Saudi Arabia to invite Syria’s Al-Assad to Arab League Summit in May

2 Apr 2023

Source: Agencies

By Al-Mayadeen English 

The spokesperson for the Arab League secretary general, Gamal Roshdy, states that the Arab League is not informed beforehand of every decision or move between Arab countries on the bilateral level.  

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad addresses parliament in Damascus, Syria on August 12, 2020 (Reuters)

According to sources, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be invited by Saudi Arabia to the Arab League summit that is due to be hosted in Riyadh on May 19, which would put an end to Syria’s regional isolation that it has been suffering from since 2011. 

Hossam Zaki, the League of Arab States (LAS) Assistant Secretary-General, confirmed last week that “the 32nd Arab summit is expected to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on May 19,” adding that heads of government are also expected to attend the Arab Development Summit in Mauritania and the Arab-African Summit in Saudi Arabia this year as well. 

This follows as Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan is scheduled to travel to the capital Damascus in the next few weeks to submit the invitation to al-Assad to the summit. Initial plans for a visit by either Prince Faisal to Syria or by Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad to Saudi Arabia were postponed as a result of the February 6 earthquakes that devastated Turkey and Syria.

Several Arab countries rushed to Syria’s aid after the February 6 earthquake that killed tens of thousands in the war-torn country and neighboring Turkey. At the time, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi called his Syrian counterpart in unprecedented support since El-Sisi took office in 2014.

The spokesperson for the Arab League secretary general, Gamal Roshdy, stated that the Arab League is not informed beforehand of every decision or move between Arab countries on the bilateral level.  

“We are not supposed to be informed in advance about the assumed visit,” he said.

Read next: Arab League chief demands end of politicization of aid to Syria

After Syria was suspended from the organization in 2011, both Western and Arab nations boycotted him as a result of the protests that turned violence into war. However, this return to the organization would not only alter the regional approach towards Syria and the conflict but also Syria’s involvement in regional politics. 

Another potential landmark agreement

The beginning of that return started when Saudi Arabia and Syria agreed to reopen their embassies after the end of the month of Ramadan, according to sources familiar with the matter, but the Saudi foreign ministry did not confirm the agreement but confirmed talks were ongoing with the Syrian counterpart to resume consular services.

It does come with conditions – the talks include demands from Saudi Arabia not limited to close cooperation on border security and drug trafficking.

Egypt recently resumed contact with Syria after both parties agreed to fortify cooperation, marking the first official visit by a Syrian foreign minister to Egypt in more than a decade. Egypt served as a mediator alongside Saudi Arabia to facilitate Syria’s return to the League. 

Read more: Syrian Foreign Minister arrives in Cairo

On the other hand, nations like the US and Qatar have been demonstrating opposition to resuming ties with Syria, using al-Assad’s government situation as an excuse and asking to see progress for a political solution in the country.

If Saudi Arabia and Syria establish a concrete agreement and resumption of ties, it will be the second victory against the desires of the West following the landmark agreement earlier last month between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The previous summit, the 31st, was held in Algeria in November 2022 and was attended by 16 Arab presidents. 

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Arab leaders offer Syria billions in aid, sanctions relief if Assad pushes back against Iran: WSJ

March 16 2023

Arab leaders offered Assad help in lobbying the west to lift crushing economic sanctions, despite Washington’s disinterest in loosening its grip on Damascus

By News Desk

(Photo Credit: SANA via AP)

Arab leaders are offering Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a deal that includes billions of dollars for reconstruction efforts and a pledge to lobby the west to lift sanctions in exchange for “[asking] Iran to stop expanding its footprint in the nation,” according to Arab and European officials that spoke with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Other conditions set by the leaders of the unnamed Arab nations include a pledge from Damascus to engage with opposition and rebel groups, accept Arab troops to “protect returning refugees,” and crack down on the captagon drug trade.

The secret talks reportedly gained momentum following the devastating earthquakes that struck Turkiye and Syria last month, killing 6,000 in the Levantine nation alone.

Nonetheless, a Syrian government adviser told the WSJ that Assad “has shown no interest in political reform or a willingness to welcome Arab troops.” Western powers have also made little effort to lift crushing sanctions or stop politicizing humanitarian aid deliveries.

Last month, US State Department spokesman Ned Price urged the international community not to let humanitarian assistance to Syria be accompanied by normalization, stressing: “[Washington’s] position on the Assad regime has not changed.”

The talks between Damascus and Arab leaders are reportedly backed by Saudi Arabia, which recently agreed to restore ties with Iran in a China-brokered deal. In recent weeks, Saudi officials have called for an end to the isolation of Syria to allow a response to its dire humanitarian crisis.

“There is a consensus building in the Arab world that the status quo is not tenable. And that means we have to find a way to move beyond that status quo,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said earlier this month.

European and Arab officials also confirmed to the WSJ that Syria’s regional reintegration would be high on the agenda at the next Arab League summit, set to be held later this year in Saudi Arabia.

In recent weeks, Jordan and Egypt sent their foreign ministers to Damascus for their first diplomatic visits since the war erupted in 2011.

Cairo in particular is spearheading a reconciliation plan which proposes restoring relations between Syria and Arab states to pre-2011 levels, returning Syria to the League of Arab States, and negotiating the deployment of joint “Arab forces” on the Syrian-Iraqi border, according to exclusive information made available to The Cradle.

Other Arab nations responsible for fueling the war in its early stages, such as Tunisia,  have announced plans to restore diplomatic ties.

Even before the earthquake hit, Arab nations had slowly started to rebuild ties with Syria after more than a decade of war and isolation, citing the failure of the US-sponsored war and concerns about Iran’s growing presence in the country.

Despite these concerns, Iran has welcomed progress between Syria and the Arab world. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani called it “a realistic approach” and “a positive step toward Islamic solidarity.”

Damascus has repeatedly denied “inaccurate reports about Iranian military forces in Syria” and asserts that “the number of Iranian advisors in Syria does not exceed 100.”

Syrian sanctions relief: An ‘American trick’

March 14 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

The temporary lifting of Washington’s sanctions on earthquake-stricken and war-torn Syria is ‘misleading’ at best, and stands in the way of relief efforts.

By The Cradle’s Syria Correspondent

Four days after the devastating earthquake that struck southern Turkiye and northern Syria on 6 February, the US announced it would temporarily ease its Syrian sanctions in an effort to speed up aid deliveries to the country.

Specifically, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Syria General License (GL) 23, which allows a 180-day Syrian sanctions exemption for “all transactions related to earthquake relief efforts.” The EU followed suit later by also freezing some of its sanctions on Damascus.

But do these measures really represent a comprehensive freeze on sanctions against Syria? And are these partial suspensions proportional to the scale of the disaster that leveled the Syrian north?

A more detailed examination of these US “sanction exemptions” reveals that this humanitarian gesture was little more than a public relations stunt to placate growing Arab and Global South displeasure with Washington’s efforts to starve out Syria – sentiments that spiked quite notably after the earthquake.

The US sanctions suspension, for all practical purposes, is limited to the sending of emergency funds from “acceptable” sources. Washington, after all, still controls the process entirely – sanctions can be imposed on remittance senders at any time.

Furthermore, US sanction exemptions have not reduced the reluctance of foreign institutions and individuals to participate in Syria’s economy – even in sectors that are not explicitly targeted by the US and EU. The UN calls this unfortunate byproduct of western sanctions regimes “excessive compliance with sanctions,” because of the fear of running afoul of western financial regulators.

Suffocating sanctions

Damascus has been targeted by US sanctions since 1979 for siding with Tehran in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). With the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011, US President Barack Obama expanded previously imposed sanctions under the Syria Accountability Act (2004) as part of a western effort to create political, economic, and military pressures on the Syrian government.

These new sanctions covered practically all sectors, imposing financial restrictions on individuals, entities, facilities, institutions, ministries, the medical sector, and state banks. They were pervasive and punished all Syrians: banning passenger flights, restricting oil exports (the US, through its Kurdish proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), controls the oil fields in northeastern Syria), preventing the export or re-export of US goods to Syria, preventing the export of Syrian products overseas, freezing Syrian assets abroad, and severing diplomatic relations with Damascus.

This sanctions overload reached a climax with the ominous Caesar Act (2019) and Captagon Act (2022). The former granted Washington the power to impose sanctions against any individual or entity, regardless of their nationality, who engages with Syria in infrastructure and energy projects, provides financial, material, or technological support to the Syrian government, or provides the Syrian military forces with goods or services.

In 2022, the US Congress passed the Captagon Act, which targeted Syria’s pharmaceutical industry, one of the country’s most successful commercial sectors, which provides more than 90 percent of Syria’s medicine needs. This US domestic legislation grants itself the authority to monitor Syrian borders, and seeks to “legitimize” its military forces’ illegal presence in Syria.

License to chill

On 10 February, the administration of President Joe Biden issued Syria General License (GL) 23, which temporarily eases sanctions on Syria and allows for the additional flow of much needed humanitarian aid into the country. However, the statement issued alongside the decision indicates that this “exemption” has many limitations.

While removing sanctions entirely requires US congressional approval, suspending the ban on certain financial transactions with Syria for a short duration is the prerogative of the American president, and is often used as leverage to gain political concessions from US-sanctioned states.

An example of this is the 2015 nuclear negotiations with Tehran, when Obama issued licenses to freeze some US sanctions on Iran before his successor, Donald Trump, withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and reactivated the sanctions.

press release issued by OFAC stated that GL 23 “provides the broad authorization necessary to support immediate disaster relief efforts in Syria.” It added that “U.S. and intermediary financial institutions should have what they need in GL23 to immediately process all earthquake relief transactions.”

The GL 23 “authorized all transactions related to earthquake relief efforts in Syria that would be otherwise prohibited by the Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR).” Importantly, it also states that “US financial institutions and US registered money transmitters may rely on the originator of a funds transfer with regard to compliance with this general license, provided that the financial institution does not know or have reason to know that the funds transfer is not in compliance with this general license.”

This language ensures that Washington retains the authority to investigate any transfers and punish money senders at any later date, on charges that the transfers are not related to relief efforts.

Another caveat, as per OFAC’s press release: “The Department of the Treasury will continue to monitor the situation in Syria and engage with key humanitarian and disaster assistance stakeholders, including NGOs, IOs, and key partners and allies.”

This essentially excludes dealings with Syrian government institutions, and prevents money transfers directly to state entities, including the Central Bank of Syria. Keep in mind that the distribution of all international humanitarian aid is directed via the Syrian government, as per the regulations and laws of the state.

This US “sanctions relief” caveat elicited a high-pitched response from the Syrian Foreign Ministry, in which it described Washington’s offering as “misleading, and aims to give a false humanitarian impression.”

Last May, the US lifted sanctions on foreign investments in areas outside of Syrian government control. The Treasury Department issued an authorization that now allows for “activities” in 12 different economic sectors in parts of northeast and northwest Syria without fear of US sanctions. This move was aimed at stimulating economic growth in areas controlled by US-backed Kurdish militias and Turkish-backed militants.

Hindering relief efforts

Washington’s sanctions have had direct consequences on international relief efforts following the earthquake. The United Nations and relief organizations were delayed in providing urgent life-or-death assistance to Syria, which the UN blamed on road and infrastructure obstacles and a “lack of fuel” – an implicit reference to the western sanctions that have deprived the country of its critical oil wealth.

Syria’s entire health sector has suffered directly from US sanctions because of power outages and the inability to purchase vital medical equipment needed to treat patients. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 20 medical facilities were damaged by the earthquake and need rehabilitation, but US sanctions prevent the restoration of these facilities, either through a direct ban or because foreign medical companies fear sanctions repercussions for dealing with the Syrian Ministry of Health.

Sanctions have doubled the suffering of Syrian earthquake survivors in terms of securing urgent relief materials and rehabilitating their damaged housing units. As such, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the lifting of sanctions that impede relief efforts.

“This is a moment in which everybody has to make very clear that no sanctions of any kind interfere with relief to the population of Syria in the present moment,” he said.

A Syrian relief source, who asked not to be named, informs The Cradle that the response of international organizations to the Syrian disaster still remains below standard due to poor funding and the difficulty of sending relief and medical materials because of the sanctions.

He explains that the impact of the US exemption license is almost negligible, as “the disaster will have a very long term impact. In normal circumstances, we need years of work, let alone the [additional burden of] sanctions.”

US ignores global calls to lift sanctions

In her preliminary report after a 12-day visit to Syria in November 2022, UN Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures and Human Rights Alina Dohan presented detailed information about the catastrophic effects of unilateral sanctions on Syrian citizens and the decline in their living standards.

Douhan called for the western sanctions imposed on Syria to be lifted immediately and stressed that they are illegal under international law.

The goal of US sanctions is to continue the wholesale destruction of a regional adversary that it wasn’t able to achieve during a decade-long, brutal war. Millions of Syrians were killed, injured, and displaced in a conflict funded and armed by external parties.

The February earthquakes just exacerbated the suffering that Syrians have endured for years, with official Syrian statistics claiming around half a million people affected, in addition to the damage of tens of thousands of housing units.

In a preliminary report, the World Bank estimates the direct damages of the earthquake in Syria at $5.1 billion. The destruction has affected four of Syria’s 14 governorates, which are home to approximately 10 million of the country’s population. These include Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia, which are under the control of the Syrian government, and Idlib, which is under the control of Al-Qaeda-affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Aleppo, with a population of 4.2 million people, was the most affected ($2.3 billion), followed by Idlib ($1.9 billion) and Latakia ($549 million).

Despite exemptions for humanitarian aid, the impact of US sanctions on Syria has been significant, hindering the ability of humanitarian organizations to operate effectively in the country. The negative impact of these sanctions undermines any claims by Washington to support the Syrian people, especially in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Tunisian president seeks resumption of diplomatic ties with Syria

March 11 2023

(Photo credit: Reuters)

This represents the recent Arab embrace of Syria following the devastating earthquake that struck the country last month

By News Desk

Tunisian President Kais Saied said on 10 March that he is seeking a reappointment of ambassadors between his country and Syria, representing the growing Arab consensus to reintegrate the Syrian government into the regional fold.

“A decision must be taken on this issue,” Saied was quoted to have told Tunisia’s Foreign Minister Nabil Ammar during a meeting.

“Nothing can justify the absence of a Tunisian ambassador in Damascus and an ambassador from Syria in Tunis … The question of the regime in Syria concerns only the Syrian people, and we deal with the Syrian state,” the president added.

On 9 February, following the devastating earthquake that struck Turkiye and Syria, Saeid disclosed that the two countries were set to restore diplomatic relations, which Tunisia severed in 2012 as a result of what western and Gulf media claimed was the government’s ‘brutal crackdown on protests.’

Since 2021, Saied expressed an openness to upgrading his country’s diplomatic relations with the Syrian government.

This represents the growing embrace that Syria has witnessed from several Arab countries since the devastating quake struck the country on 6 February.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia, a principal instigator of the Syrian war, expressed the need to end the international and regional isolation of Syria – isolation which Washington continues to encourage despite its impediment of humanitarian aid to the disaster-stricken nation.

In 2017, Tunis reinstituted a limited diplomatic mission in Syria in order to track over 3,000 Tunisian militants fighting with the opposition.

The presence of foreign militants in Syria has been recorded as early as 2011, despite claims to the contrary by the opposition, which maintains until this day that there was no armed, anti-government activity in the country until 2012. This is despite the fact that armed men were filmed crossing the border into Syria from Iraq in 2011 by Al-Jazeera journalist Ali Hashem, whose video was suppressed by the Qatari-funded media outlet.

Militants from Tunisia, in particular, were present in Syria as early as 2011.

In 2014, writer and analyst on West Asian geopolitics, Sharmine Narwani, wrote – citing a Tunisian television report – that “a Tunisian jihadist who goes by the name of Abu Qusay, told Tunisian television that his ‘task’ in Syria [in 2011] was to destroy and desecrate mosques with Sunni names,” as well as to write “pro-government and blasphemous slogans on mosque walls” in order to incite sectarian tension and instigate defections from the Syrian army.

“It was a ‘tactic,’ he [said], to get the soldiers to ‘come on our side’ so that the army can become weak,” Narwani cited the Tunisian militant as saying. Actions such as this, as well as foreign funding, resulted in the Syrian military defections that triggered the rise of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in 2011.

The Tunisian television report has since been removed from YouTube.

China urges Washington to end ‘occupation and marauding’ of Syria

March 11 2023

(Photo Credit: Reuters)

Beijing has repeatedly called on the White House to end its illegal practices inside Syria; the nation was also among the first to send aid to Syria following last month’s earthquake

By News Desk

China has repeated calls for the US to end its illegal military occupation of Syria and stop looting the country’s resources, stressing that its continued presence has worsened Syria’s humanitarian crisis.

“We call on the United States to sincerely respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of other countries and to immediately stop its illegal military presence and marauding in Syria,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said during a news conference on 11 March.

“The United States has illegally intervened in military activities related to the Syrian crisis, which has led to the death of a large number of innocent civilians and a serious humanitarian disaster,” Mao added before calling on US officials to lift crushing economic sanctions on Syria.

Beijing’s call came just two days after US lawmakers voted against a War Powers Resolution that called for withdrawing troops from Syria.

Around 900 US troops are currently deployed in the Levantine nation, controlling nearly a third of the country and a large portion of its oil fields. Their deployment is illegal under international law as it was not approved by the government in Damascus.

This is not the first time Beijing has bashed Washington’s illegal presence in Syria. Back in January, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Syria’s energy crisis and humanitarian disaster are a result of the US and its proxy militias plundering its resources.

“US stationing troops in Syria is illegal. US smuggling oil and grain from Syria is illegal. US missile attacks against Syria are also illegal,” he said then.

A year ago, Chinese and Syrian officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) welcoming Damascus into the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Launched nine years ago, the BRI is a mega-infrastructure project that seeks to bring capital and infrastructure to Global South countries while dramatically strengthening connectivity for commerce, finance, and culture.

China was among the first nations to send aid to Syria following last month’s devastating earthquake when aid deliveries from the west were being held up due to US sanctions.

Caesar ActChinaEarthquakehumanitarian crisisoccupation forcesoil theftsanctionsSyriaUS

Take a look at the Countries Which Provided Aid to Quake-hit Syria

February 24, 2023

Al-Manar English Website prepared an infographic image illustrating the countries which provided aid to Syria following the devastating earthquake which killed at least 6,000 in Syria and 41,000 others in neighboring Turkey.

The infographic image shows the dates and the nature of the aid provided, in addition to some other details on the issue.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Biden Forces Continue Stealing Syria’s Oil Despite the Earthquake!



Biden forces illegally deployed and operating in Syria to help ISIS and other terrorist groups continue their task of stealing the Syrian oil and depriving the Syrian people of their own fuel despite the devastating earthquake that struck the country earlier this month.

Locals in the countryside of Al Yarubiya in northeastern Syria spotted a new convoy of tankers loaded with stolen Syrian oil and protected by the US Army heading toward Iraq through the illegal Mahmoudiya border crossing.

The locals said they counted 34 tankers in the convoy which was also guarded by vehicles of the US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists coming from the oil wells of the Syrian Hasakah province in northeastern Syria.

Under the guise of combating ISIS (ISIL – Daesh), the terrorist organization that was founded by the former US junta of Obama / and Zionist Biden, the US Army led a coalition of similar evil forces comprising several NATO armies, a host of black op units from the most retard political regimes in the world, the Saudis and Qataris, along with officers from the Israeli IDF and Mossad terrorist organizations, Jordanian and Turkish ‘intelligence’ units, and some local units of the defunct FSA, the umbrella created to spring-up Al Qaeda Levant.

Instead of combating ISIS, the terrorist organization was founded under the US army’s watchful eyes, grew in numbers and weapons, and moved in its brand new machine guns-mounted Toyota pickups across the open deserts between Iraq and Syria which are under US control, those were former US Secretary of State John Kerry’s own words.

The US Army and its coalition buddies were also busy with other tasks, they created the Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists and branched out Al Qaeda Levant into dozens of smaller competing terrorist groups to further the goal of destroying Syria, the last secular country in the region while the US Army does what it only knows what to do: steal oil.

Former US Commander in Chief laid out the only task of the US troops in Syria: ‘to keep the oil,’ he said and added: ‘I like oil.’

Meanwhile, the Syrian people continue suffering from severe shortages in food and fuel to heat their homes, cook their meals, fill their cars and public transportation, deliver humanitarian aid to the destroyed areas, and run their factories in order to survive.


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Iran: Arabs-Syria rapprochement positive step toward Islamic solidarity

Tuesday, 28 February 2023 8:07 AM  [ Last Update: Tuesday, 28 February 2023 8:34 AM ]

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, (3rd R) meets with a delegation representing various Arab parliaments in Damascus on February 26, 2023. (File photo by SANA)

Tehran says a recent visit by Arab parliament speakers and senior legislators to Syria is a positive step toward Islamic solidarity, emphasizing that dialogue and regional approaches can solve the woes in the region.

“The recent progress in relations between Arab countries and Syria, including the visit by Arab parliamentary delegations to Damascus to express solidarity with Syria following the recent devastating earthquake, in addition to being a realistic approach, is a positive step toward Islamic solidarity,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani tweeted on Tuesday.

He added that regional countries will be able to resolve their problems through “dialogue and regional mechanisms” if they act realistically, adopt an independent national stance, and pay no heed to the demands of the hegemonic powers.

The high-profile Arab lawmakers arrived in Damascus on Sunday amid attempts by certain countries, above all Iraq, to restore Syria’s membership in the Arab League, more than a decade after it was suspended from the 22-member bloc.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also arrived in Damascus on Monday in the first such visit by a top Egyptian diplomat since the foreign-sponsored militancy erupted in Syria more than a decade ago.

In a meeting with President Assad, the top Egyptian diplomat reaffirmed his country’s solidarity with Syria and its preparedness to continue supporting Syrians in the aftermath of the devastating February earthquake.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has met with a delegation from the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, which aims to restore Syria’s membership in the Arab League after more than a decade of suspension from the 22-member bloc.

In a meeting with the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union later on Sunday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, “The delegation’s visit to Syria today means a lot to the Syrian people as it indicates the support to the Syrians … who are exposed as a result of the terrorist war and the repercussions of the earthquake.”

According to the latest figures, more than 50,000 were killed by the disastrous earthquake that hit Turkey and neighboring earlier this month.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

The Tragedy Caused by the Syrian Earthquake Exposed the West’s Humanitarian Claims

Feb 27, 2023

By Ali Hassan

Damascus – About two weeks after the devastating earthquake that struck both Syria and Turkey and the unprecedented human tragedy it left behind, the scale of Western hypocrisy and the falsity of its repeated claims about human rights and the defense of humanitarian issues for which it set itself up as its advocate, or rather as a judge under the pretext of which it flogs whomever it wants from its enemies under the pretext of defending them, have been revealed successively.

In the most recent chapter of this strange paradox which amounts to a scandal is what a UN official announced that the rate of response in Syria following the devastating earthquake did not reach the minimum required so far.

Ghada Mudawi, an official at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, confirmed that the humanitarian appeal launched by the United Nations to meet the needs of those affected by the earthquake in Syria received only 17% of the total value requested, which amounts to $397 million.

The UN official stressed the need to provide more resources to support life-saving relief efforts in Syria and Turkey, noting that the most urgent needs of those displaced by the devastating earthquakes are food, shelter, winter supplies and cash, according to the United Nations Information Center.

With the exception of an Italian aid ship and a Norwegian plane that landed at Damascus airport, the European Union did not provide any aid to Syria despite all the false tears that European officials were shedding allegedly in grief over the Syrian people for their freedom.

Generous Only in Arms

Regarding this apparent Western hypocrisy in dealing with humanitarian issues, political analyst Khaled Amer told Al-Ahed news website that the tragedy of the earthquake completely exposed the Western allegations and revealed their falsity.

Amer asked: “Where did the overwhelming human emotion of the European officials for the Syrian people go and they were the ones following the Syrian crisis in all its details and made the UN Security Council convene in a semi-permanent condition to discuss the Syrian issue?”

He continued, “Why do Europeans skimp on the Syrians with a small part of the basic necessities of life, when they spent tens of millions pumping arms and mobilizing the media to stir up confusion and sedition among the Syrians and push them to kill each other?”

He stressed that Syria, despite all the difficulties it faces and the tragedies that befell it, does not need those who trade in the tragedies of peoples, especially since it has allies who stand by it in all crises and share with it what they possess in order to heal its wounds. He added that both their bloods mixed in the war on top of which are the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Lebanese Resistance, Iraq and its Popular Mobilization Units.

Accordingly, Amer believes that with all these allied and sincere forces, there is no fear for Syria, stressing that it is able to overcome all these pains and rise again to regain its health again.

الزلزال يُعيد وصْل «الإقليمَين»

القاهرة لدمشق: ولّى زمن القطيعة

 الثلاثاء 28 شباط 2023

أبدى الوزير المصري حرص القاهرة على تعزيز علاقاتها مع دمشق وتطوير تعاونهما المشترك (أ ف ب)

علاء حلبي

من البوّابة الإنسانية، عبرت مصر نحو رفْع مستوى علاقتها مع سوريا، من التنسيق الأمني غير المعلَن، إلى التواصل المباشر بين البلدَين اللذين فرّقتْهما قطيعة مؤقّتة، تَبِع انتهاءها موقف مصري متذبذب، سرعان ما فارقتْه القاهرة في أعقاب وقوع الزلزال الكارثة في السادس من شباط. وعلى رغم التكهّن بأن الخطوة المصرية الواسعة إزاء دمشق قد تكون، في جانب منها، مدفوعةً بالخلاف المستمرّ في ما بين القاهرة والرياض، إلّا أن سياقها ينبئ باندراجها في إطار الحَراك العربي الأوسع الذي تقوده أبو ظبي ومسقط وعمّان نحو سوريا، والذي يُتوقّع أن لا تتأخّر الرياض في الانضمام إليه

في تطوُّر يفتتح فصلاً جديداً في العلاقات السورية – المصرية، حلّ وزير الخارجية المصري، سامح شكري، ضيفاً على دمشق، حيث أجرى لقاءً مع نظيره السوري، فيصل المقداد، والرئيس بشار الأسد، في زيارة هي الأولى من نوعها لمسؤول ديبلوماسي مصري رفيع المستوى إلى سوريا منذ عام 2011. الزيارة التي حاول شكري إضفاء الطابع الإنساني عليها، عبر تأكيده أكثر من مرّة أنه جاء ليعلن تضامُن بلاده مع سوريا على خلفيّة الزلزال المدمّر الذي ضرب البلاد في السادس من شباط الماضي، تتزامن مع حَراك عربي على مستويات عدّة، تلعب فيه كلّ من الإمارات وسلطنة عُمان دوراً بارزاً لتقريب وجهات النظر، والتوصّل إلى صيغة مناسبة لجميع الأطراف تعود من خلالها دمشق إلى لَعِب دورها الاستراتيجي، خاصة بعد وصول الأزمة إلى حالة استعصاء أفرزها فشَل جميع محاولات تغيير نظام الحُكم في سوريا.
وخلال لقائه الأسد، نقَل الوزير المصري رسالة من الرئيس عبد الفتاح السيسي، أكد فيها الأخير تضامُن مصر مع سوريا، واستعدادها لمواصلة دعْم السوريين بمواجهة آثار الزلزال، واعتزازه بالعلاقات التاريخية بين البلدَين، وحرْص القاهرة على تعزيز هذه العلاقات وتطوير التعاون المشترك. وردّ الأسد على ذلك بشُكر الضيف المصري، وإبداء حرْص سوريا على الصِلات مع مصر «في إطار السياق الطبيعي والتاريخي»، معتبراً أن «العمل لتحسين العلاقات بين الدول العربية بشكل ثنائي هو الأساس لتحسين الوضع العربي بشكل عام». وتأتي زيارة رأس هرم الديبلوماسية المصرية إلى دمشق لتعيد إحياء روابط تاريخية بين البلدَين، بعد قطيعة بدأت عام 2011، ووصلت إلى ذروتها خلال تولّي «الإخوان المسلمين» حُكم مصر بقيادة الراحل محمد مرسي، الذي أعلن في حزيران من عام 2013 قطْع علاقة بلاده رسمياً مع دمشق، والانضمام إلى الحلف المناوئ للحكومة السورية، محتضِناً نشاط قسم من المعارضة السورية، وداعياً إلى فرْض حظر جوّي على سوريا. وتروي مصادر مصرية عدّة أن موقف الجيش المصري الذي كان يقوده في تلك الفترة السيسي، الذي شغل آنذاك منصب وزير الدفاع، ظلّ معارضاً لموقف مرسي، وهو ما أكّده الكاتب المصري الراحل، محمد حسنين هيكل، خلال لقاء تلفزيوني، ذكر خلاله أن الجيش المصري رفض سياسة الرئيس الراحل، غير أن الأخير استمرّ فيها.

أعادت زيارة رأس هرم الديبلوماسية المصرية إلى دمشق إحياء علاقات تاريخية بين البلدَين بعد قطيعة بدأت عام 2011

وبعد انهيار حكومة «الإخوان»، وصعود السيسي إلى السلطة، عادت العلاقات جزئياً بين البلدَين، الأمر الذي أعلنه الرئيس المصري صراحة خلال زيارة أجراها بُعيد تولّيه السلطة إلى الولايات المتحدة عام 2014، حيث أشار إلى متانة الصِلات التي تَجمع جيشَي البلدَين، وأكد أن وحدة سوريا تُعتبر جزءاً من الأمن القومي المصري. ومع ذلك، لم ترقَ الروابط إلى مستويات رفيعة، بل انحصرت في نطاق اللقاءات الأمنية، قبل أن يأتي اللقاء الذي جمع وزير الخارجية السوري، فيصل المقداد، بنظيره المصري في نيويورك على هامش اجتماع الجمعية العامّة للأمم المتحدة عام 2021، ليشكّل علامة فارقة. وإلى جانب التعاون الأمني والعسكري الوثيق، لعب مستثمرون سوريون نقلوا استثماراتهم من سوريا إلى مصر خلال الحرب، دوراً بارزاً في تعزيز العلاقات بين البلدَين، بعدما بلغ حجم تلك الاستثمارات نحو 23 مليار دولار.
وأبدت سوريا، مرّات عديدة، خلال تصريحات أطلقها الأسد والمقداد، تفهّمها لموقف بعض الدول التي تتواصل مع سوريا بشكل غير علني بسبب الضغوط الغربية والأميركية، وهو ما يمكن أن ينطبق على مصر، التي مرّت بظروف اقتصادية وسياسية صعبة خلال الأعوام الماضية، شكّلت عائقاً أمام اتّخاذ خطوات «انفتاحية» كبيرة. إلّا أن هذه الظروف يبدو أنها بدأت تتحوّل خلال الأشهر القليلة الماضية، في ظلّ مبادرات عربية عديدة بقيادة الأردن والإمارات وسلطنة عُمان لكسر الجمود السياسي، شكّلت التداعيات الكارثية للزلزال فرصة للمضيّ بها قُدُماً، وفتْح الباب أمام مصر التي بادر رئيسها، فور وقوع الكارثة، إلى الاتّصال بالأسد، والإيعاز بإرسال مساعدات عبر الجوّ والبحر. وفي وقت يَجري فيه الحديث في بعض الأوساط السياسية العربية عن وجود خلافات سعودية – مصرية يمكن أن تكون قد شكّلت دافعاً إضافياً لاتّخاذ القاهرة خطوتها الواسعة نحو دمشق، تُنبئ التحرّكات العربية بأن الانفتاح المصري يندرج في إطار نشاط عربي واسع النطاق لا يستثني الرياض، التي أعلن وزير خارجيّتها، فيصل بن فرحان، تغيّر موقف بلاده من سوريا، مشدّداً على ضرورة التواصل مع دمشق التي من المنتظر أن يزورها خلال الأيام المقبلة.
وعلى الرغم من الانفتاح المتواصل لعواصم عربية على دمشق، سواءً قبل الزلزال أو بَعده، تُواجه هذه الخطوات معوّقات عديدة واختبارات صعبة، أبرزها الموقف الأميركي الرافض لهذا التطبيع، والتهديد بالعقوبات الأميركية أحادية الجانب المفروضة على سوريا، بالإضافة إلى امتلاك واشنطن أوراق ضغط عديدة قد تبادر إلى استخدامها خلال الفترة المقبلة.

مقالات ذات صلة

What Can We Do in Order to Prevent Earthquake Occurrences? (Video)

 February 22, 2023

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

In the memorial ceremony of the Lebanese Resistance movement’s martyred commanders, Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Sayyed Abbas Al-Moussawi and Hajj Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah tackled the possibility of earthquake occurrences in Lebanon.

Sayyed Nasrallah called on the Lebanese authorities to take the necessary measures and precautions in order to deal with such a possible natural phenomenon.

Sayyed Nasrallah also mentioned a number of acts that contribute to preventing such a calamity.

President Assad Holds a Summit with Sultan of Oman Bin Tariq


Syrian President Bashar Assad held a summit with the Sultan of Oman Haitham Bin Tariq in Muscat, Oman on a one-day business trip to the sultanate.

The Syrian Presidency shared the news about the open and closed summits between President Assad and Sultan Bin Tariq with footage of the arrival of the Syrian delegation that included the Syrian ministers of foreign affairs Faisal Mekdad, economy, presidential affairs, and the presidential consultant Louna Al Shibl.

The Syrian Presidency shared the following statement:

President Bashar Al Assad and Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq held an official discussion session at the Al-Baraka Palace in Muscat in the presence of the two official delegations, where His Majesty the Sultan renewed his condolences to the Assad President and the Syrian people with the victims of the devastating earthquake, confirming his country’s continued support for Syria to overcome the effects of the earthquake and the repercussions of the war and the siege imposed on the Syrian people, pointing out that Oman feels the difficult circumstances that the Syrians live in because of these factors.

The video is also available on Rumble and BitChute,
Syrian President Bashar Assad holds summit with Oman Sulan Haitham Bin Tariq in Muscat
Syrian President Bashar Assad holds summit with Oman Sulan Haitham Bin Tariq in Muscat
Syrian President Bashar Assad holds summit with Oman Sulan Haitham Bin Tariq in Muscat
Syrian President Bashar Assad holds summit with Oman Sulan Haitham Bin Tariq in Muscat

The Sultanate of Oman, unlike most of the Arabs and especially the Gulfies, do not interfere negatively in any internal affair of other countries, it has always remained positively neutral trying to mend the relations between it with other countries, and has played an active mediator in several conflicts, thus the special respect it gained among the peoples of the region, with special respect and love from the Syrian people expressed by President Assad to the Sultan of Oman:

President Al Assad expressed his great thanks to His Majesty the Sultan, the government, and the brotherly Omani people for their solidarity, standing with the Syrian Arab Republic and sending relief aid, pointing out that the greatest thanks are due to Oman’s standing alongside Syria during the terrorist war on it..

Sultan Bin Tariq added: “Syria is a brotherly Arab country and we look forward to its relations with all Arab countries in its normal context.”

Despite enormous pressure from the USA, its European minions, their proxy Gulfies, and their Arab League stooges to sever relations with Syria, the Sultanate of Oman maintained its full political and diplomatic relations with Syria.

The Sultanate of Oman is among the very rare countries on our planet that have not sent a single terrorist to kill the Syrian people during the past 12 years and have not contributed financially, diplomatically, or culturally, overtly or covertly to the US-led war of terrorism and war of attrition against the Syrian state, those rare countries count less than a dozen.

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سورية الجريحة…ستعود أقوى وأميركا ليست إلها يعبد…!

فبراير 20 2023

د. عدنان نجيب الدين

من ينظر إلى الخارطة يرى لبنان كطفل صغير تحتضنه أمه سورية. ولبنان هذا كان وما زال الطفل المدلل عندها، بالرغم من عقوقه حيناً، ومن تطاوله عليها أحياناً، لا زالت تحتضنه برغم الجراح التي أصابتها من الأعداء في الخارج ومن بعض شقيقاتها العربيات اللواتي تآمرن عليها، ولولا اللطف الإلهي الذي حماها، ولولا صدّها للمؤامرة ببطولات جيشها وقيادتها الحكيمة التي عرفت كيف تصمد وتواجه، ولولا ان سخر لها الله بعض الخيّرين والأصدقاء في الإقليم وخارج الإقليم كالجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران وروسيا والمقاومة الاسلامية في لبنان والشرفاء من هذه الأمة لكانت سورية اليوم قد سقطت وراحت ضحية المؤامرة الكونية عليها.

لكن بعض أبنائها، من العاقين في لبنان، ورغم كلّ الصراخ الذي أطلقوه ويطلقونه في وجه هذه الأم الحنون، لم يستطيعوا أن يكسروا ظفر قدمها. ولبنان ليس كله عاق، لأنّ الغالبية من أبنائه شرفاء يكنون لها الحب والوفاء. ونحن لا نقبل من بعض الشركاء في الوطن هذا العقوق بحقها، وهي التي دافعت عنا في أحلك اللحظات، وتصدّت للعدوان الصهيوني علينا في العام 1982، وهي التي حقنت دماء اللبنانيين واستطاعت مع المخلصين من حقن دمائهم فأوقفت الحرب الأهلية التي امتدت على مدى خمس عشرة سنة، وهي التي أعادت بناء الجيش اللبناني وزوّدته بالأسلحة والمعدات، وهي التي تقاسمت معنا الرخاء وشظف العيش، وهي التي دعمت المقاومة في لبنان بكلّ أنواع الدعم حتى استطاعت تحرير ما احتلّ من أراض لبنانية، ونحن لا ننسى أنّ نعمة التحرير وعزة النصر هما نتيجة نضال شعبنا وبفضل دماء شهدائنا المقاومين ودعم سورية وإيران.

وسورية هي التي لم تبخل على شعب لبنان بكلّ أنواع المساعدة الاقتصادية أيام الشدة، وهي التي تقاسمت معنا الأوكسجين أيام جائحة كورونا عندما عزّ وجوده في لبنان وفرغت مخزوناته في المستشفيات، وهي التي استقبلت النازحين اللبنانيين أيام العدوان “الإسرائيلي” في تموز عام 1996 وأنزلتهم عندها ضيوفاً مكرمين معززين. سورية، قلب العروبة النابض، كما سماها الرئيس الخالد جمال عبد الناصر، كانت وما زالت تدعم القضية الفلسطينية وتدعم الشعب الفلسطيني ومقاومته الباسلة لتحرير فلسطين العربية وإعادتها حرة إلى شعبها الأصيل.

لقد قاومت سورية الحرب الإرهابية العالمية التي قادتها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية ضدها، لا لشيء سوى لكسر شوكتها وتحقيق المطلب الصهيوني بالاعتراف بكيانه الغاصب لفلسطين وتطبيع العلاقة معه والقبول بالتسليم له بضمّ الجولان إلى كيانه المحتلّ والتخلي عن فلسطين وشعبها وبيع قضيته في بازار التسويات.
سورية هذه، تعيش اليوم كارثة الزلزال المدمّر الذي ضرب جزءاً من أرضها، وتسبّب بعشرات الآلاف من الموتى والجرحى ومئات الآلاف من المشرّدين الذي تصدّعت بيوتهم أو دمّرت… فما عسانا نفعل تجاه هذه الأمّ الحنون؟ هل يكفي إبداء مشاعر الحزن والمواساة؟ هل يكفي بعض المساعدات أو التقديمات الرمزية رفعاً للعتب؟ كلا وألف كلا… انّ سورية ليست فقط مجرد بلد شقيق بالنسبة للدول العربية، بل هي قلب الجسد العربي، إذا عاش هذا القلب واستعاد نبضه وصحته، عاشت الأمة كلها، وإذا توقف لا سمح الله هذا القلب عن النبض، تموت الأمة العربية من محيطها إلى خليجها. سورية كانت وما زالت أمّ الحضارات، ولها فضل على البشرية جمعاء… هي أرض المسيح والرسل والقديسين.

نحن نعلم أنّ بعض العرب وبعض دول الإقليم كان شريكاً لأميركا والغرب في الحرب الإرهابية عليها، ونعلم أنّ مئات المليارات قد تمّ صرفها على تدريب الإرهابيين وتسليحهم وإرسالهم إلى سورية، ونعلم أنّ هذه الحرب لم تترك شيئاً إلا ودمّرته، ولم توفر البشر والحجر حتى الأطفال والنساء، وأنّ مئات الآلاف من القتلى والجرحى قد تمّ حصدهم على امتداد أكثر من عشر سنوات بهدف إركاعها ونهب ثرواتها وتقديمها لقمة سائغة للعدو الصهيوني وحلفائه في الغرب، كلّ ذلك ليس خافياً على أحد، واعترافات بعض المسؤولين العرب معروفة وقد جرى بثها على الإعلام مباشرة. ولكن أن تستمرّ المؤامرة عليها برغم هذا الزلزال المدمّر والضحايا الجديدة التي سقطت، فهذا أمر لا يقرّه دين ولا شرع ولا عقل ولا يقبل به ضمير إنساني حي.

نحن نعلم أنّ اميركا بلا قلب ولا ضمير ولا أخلاق، لأن سياستها تقوم على فلسفة مادية تحسب المكاسب والأرباح في كلّ خطوة تخطوها ولو على حساب قتل الشعوب وهدر دمائهم. ومعروفة سياسة أميركا والحروب التي شنتها على دول وشعوب كثيرة والفتن التي أثارتها والفقر الذي سبّبته عقوباتها الجائرة والمجرمة، ومعروفة مؤامراتها على أنظمة لا تقرّ لها بالعبودية. ولكن إذا كان لنا من عتب، فهو على دولنا العربية التي لم تبادر منذ اللحظة الأولى لنجدة سورية بشكل كاف وفعّال لتضميد جراحها النازفة، وإرسال ما يلزم من مساعدات انسانية طبية وغذائية ومعدات لرفع الأنقاض، لأنّ الضحايا الذين سقطت على رؤوسهم المباني، لم يموتوا كلهم في اللحظة لتوّها، بل كان هناك أحياء يطلبون إغاثتهم ولكنه لم يُغاثوا لأنّ المعدات الثقيلة اللازمة غير متوفرة ولم يجر إنقاذهم من الموت، والوقت ضاغط ولا يسمح بالانتظار، لانّ كلّ لحظة تمر يمكن أن تنفذ طفلاً مصاباً أو تجعله يموت. وهذا للأسف الشديد لم يحصل. وكانت تركيا الجارة التي نتألم لما أصابها تماما كما تألمنا لما أصاب سورية. فالمشاعر الإنسانية واحدة أمام هول ما حدث، وهذا طبيعي ولا جدال فيه. كلّ المساعدات أو جلها كانت تذهب الى تركيا والنزر القليل يذهب إلى سورية. أيّ عدل وأيّ إنسانية وآية أخلاق نرى في هذه الظروف المأساوية؟ الكلّ خائف من أميركا! وخائف من عواقب قانون قيصر البغيض واللئيم. فليسقط قانون قيصر وكلّ تلك السياسات العدوانية العنصرية الغربية. وليعلم العرب وليعلم الجميع: أنّ أميركا ليست إلها يُعبد، وأنّ سياسييها ليسوا رسلاً وقديسين، أن من يحكم أميركا هم خدم عند الأوليغارشية المتحكمة بالسلطة وأصحاب النفوذ من مجموعة من اللصوص ومصاصي دماء الشعوب، وهؤلاء لا أخلاق عندهم ولا دين ولا إنسانية، فلماذا نجاربهم أو نخاف منهم؟ هل الكراسي والعروش أهمّ من رضا الله والضمير والإنسانية والأخلاق؟ وإذا سقطت الأخلاق فماذا ببقى من إنسانية لدى البشر؟

رحم الله شاعرنا الكبير أحمد شوقي الذي قال:
إنما الأمم الأخلاق ما بقيت………… إن هم ذهبت أخلاقهم ذهبوا…

Assad: Earthquake Repercussions Belong to Cumulative Case of War, Terrorist Sabotage, Embargo & Its Effects

Feb 17, 2021

By Staff, SANA

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad gave a speech on Thursday night in which he tackled the repercussions of the earthquake that struck the country.

“A homeland is a home, and its protection is a duty, regardless of the type and magnitude of the challenge, and regardless of the capabilities. This was the case since the first moments of the earthquake,” Assad underlined at the beginning of his speech.

The Syrian president’s speech detailed all repercussions of the tragedy, stating the following:

This deep and overwhelming sense towards the homeland, our home, Syria, was felt by the one family inhabiting it, individuals and institutions. And there was this massive surge on the part of everyone to protect, save and help their brothers and sisters affected by the earthquake in Aleppo, Lattakia and Hama. This national patriotic and humanitarian scene is not surprising for any of us; for we have felt it at different turns of the war on Syria. But now, it is clearer and more comprehensive. More importantly, it is more expressive, for it comes after twelve years of war and embargo, with the accompanying death, sabotage and lack of resources on the national level.

However, despite the cruelty of all this, it has not changed the essence of our feeling and our thinking towards each other and towards the homeland, whether it is the land or the people inhabiting it, towards its concepts, customs and traditions.

If this war has exhausted and drained a lot of the national resources, and weakened the capabilities to face more crises, this war itself gave the Syrian society the expertise and the ability to act quickly and effectively in the early hours of the earthquake.

The magnitude of the disaster and the tasks that we should all shoulder are much larger than the available capabilities. However, what our society, its individuals and institutions, was capable of doing was also much larger than the available capabilities. This was not only because of the war and the sanctions, but also because Syria has not been an earthquake area for about two and a half centuries. Neither the buildings nor the institutions nor the equipment were prepared for different types of natural disasters. This made it the first challenge of its kind, and the largest of its kind. Nothing compensated for those weaknesses except the quick and highly effective response of the government, civil-society organizations and individuals who volunteered in the rescue work, those who made in kind or financial donations, residents and expatriates. They have tried every possible way to break the embargo in order to provide every possible assistance to their disaster-affected brothers and sisters. This is in addition to the emergency aid sent by sisterly and friendly countries, which constituted a significant support for the national efforts to alleviate the impact of the earthquake and save many of the injured.

However, from the experiences of other countries in this area, earthquakes have immediate and long-term effects. What we shall face for months and years, in terms of economic, social and service challenges is no less important than what we faced during the first days. And it needs a lot of thinking, dialogue, solidarity and organization on the part of all national sectors. It is important not to look at the repercussions as a separate case related exclusively to the earthquake; for it is a cumulative case of war, terrorist sabotage, the embargo and its effects and of the earthquake recently. Added to this are faults that have accumulated in different sectors for decades before the war.

The scene might look complicated, and it might be difficult to categorize the reasons leading to each problem separately. But it might give us an opportunity to solve those accumulated problems in an interrelated manner. This means moving from addressing the negative aspects of the emergency conditions into the positive aspects of comprehensive treatment. And it means moving forward instead of standing fixed in facing crises. This cannot happen all at once, but in a prioritized manner depending on the available capabilities, and in stages. But what is important is having the vision based on a national consensus and a broad dialogue.

But even then, we need to continue dealing with the repercussions of the earthquake step by step. After completing the rescue stage, providing emergency shelters and the basic requirement in terms of food, clothes and medicine, which have been done so far. The relevant government institutions have started to provide temporary housing, until permanent housing is provided at a later stage.

Creating a fund for supporting the affected people is under study. The fund aims at supporting them until they become capable of restoring the different aspects of their life capabilities. This will happen after the damage is assessed, and criteria are drawn for the identification of those covered and the support provided. All this should be done in parallel with curbing economic decline which usually hits affected areas and impacts the national economy in general. The necessary legislation will be passed and measures taken in order to alleviate the economic burdens on their population and accelerate the economic cycle there. These have been started to be examined before being presented for discussion and taking the appropriate decisions in the next few days. There are also some other ideas which have been proposed recently and will be announced by the relevant institutions, after being properly examined, discussed and their feasibility ensured.

When societies suffer different kinds of earthquakes, geological, political, military, cultural, social or other kinds of violent tremors, they are bound to lose part of their stability, because their institutional and social controls are shaken. This includes laws, regulations, concepts, traditions and morals. This, in turn, gives rise to negative aspects already there, but have been latent or limited as a result of those controls.

Enthusiasm and vigor in treating these manifestations which appear on the surface are necessary in crises, provided they are based on wisdom and awareness, on facts not exaggeration and illusions. So, let’s look for the truth instead of promoting rumors which have eclipsed scenes of heroism, sacrifice, devotion, solidarity and the unlimited enthusiasm we have seen during the hours and days which followed the earthquake. For they will send messages of frustration to all those who have made that amazing and extraordinary patriotic scene, and promote instead an image at odds with the pure and honorable image we have drawn in the minds of others.

Is there an event, small or large, that can obscure the images of heroism projected by our national civil and military institutions, civil society, and individual volunteers involved in rescue work like a beehive, day and night? They are credited with all that has been achieved. They have born the homeland, with all its hopes and pain, in unlimited enthusiasm and forbearance and great sacrifice. They have embodied the homeland in all its beautiful meanings and noble values.

Was it this spontaneous popular surge to support the disaster-affected with a flood of good that suspended their poverty and need? It was a surge of activity and feeling which equaled the well-off, who gave without being asked, and the needy, who cut some of their limited resources and daily sustenance in order to help a disaster affected person. They have been a real and live model of morals in their noblest manifestations, patriotism in its deepest meanings and humanity in its most sublime attributes.

Can we ever forget those who have mobilized in order to defend the real image of our society in the different mass and social media, not allowing the distorted image that some people have been trying to market to affect our reputation as a society, and preventing that image from affecting its morals, solidarity and altruism, which is the highest value on the individual and collective levels?

There are many other stories and endless details, individuals, heroes, courageous and valiant persons who stand as role models for the present and guiding lights for the future.

For all those, residents and expatriates, who alleviated this painful tragedy with what they could, materially and morally, with something or with a word, we don’t say thank you, because loving one’s homeland, serving and defending it is a duty that does not require thanks, but we say to them: we are proud of you, and your homeland is proud of you.

In the midst of our pain and sadness for the victims, our pride in our compatriots, we should not omit to thank all the countries which have stood with us from the first hours of the disaster, our Arab brothers and our friends whose kind and field assistance have made the greatest impact in strengthening our capabilities to face the difficult circumstances in those critical hours.

I would like to thank in particular the rescue teams from different countries which took active part in rescue operations and continued to work until the last moments of hope of finding a live person under the rubble. They conducted their work with the same enthusiasm and devotion as their Syrian colleagues. They were real brothers. So, on behalf of every Syrian, we thank them and are grateful to them.

All of us in this homeland, Muslims and Christians, believe in God; and believing in God means believing in God’s will. For us, God’s will is a destiny which brings us things we like and things we dislike. If we are not in a position to comprehend God’s wisdom in the calamities and graces which befall us, and their reasons, we are certainly in a position to learn the lessons from them. The first and most important thing which we should learn from this tough experience, now that we have been able, together, with all parts of our spectrum and sectors, to overcome our circumstances and limited capabilities, is to believe in our own tremendous capabilities, and to believe that our solidarity enables us to do it and that our fragmentation stifles it.

So, let’s believe in God, believe in our homeland, in the will capable of making miracles when we possess it, in order for Syria to remain proud of its people, strong in its history, rich in its dignity, capable in its will.

What happened on February 6 in Syria and northern Alexandretta – Geologist Ammar Ajeeb
Special and continuous coverage of the repercussions of the devastating earthquake 2/17/2023, presented and interviewed by Bushra Zaini
Al-Ekhbariya camera monitors the conditions of the affected people and the damage caused by the earthquake in the village of Astamu in the countryside of Lattakia

Chaos in Lebanon to extend to US protégé, ‘Israel’: Sayyed Nasrallah

Feb 16, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah underlines that the chaos the West is planning for Lebanon would engulf the whole region in flames, especially the Israeli occupation.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speaking during a celebration commemorating the commanders of resistance on February 16, 2023

The Resistance’s accomplishments were only realized due to the blood of the commanders and the martyrs in all resistance factions, the Lebanese Army, the Palestinian resistance factions, and the Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Thursday during a speech commemorating the commanders of the resistance.

“Commemorating the martyred commanders each year is an expression of our loyalty and appreciation for them, their struggle, and their sacrifices, as well as the venerable [Sayyed Abbas Al-Moussawi’s wife] Umm Yasser,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

He also lauded the Resistance commanders, underlining how they adhered to Resistance despite all the difficulties and betrayals they faced.

“Commemorating them aims to remind of them and reintroduce them once again because many of those from the new generation might not know what happened 30 or 40 years ago,” he said. “Much can be inspired by their stories in the face of the current circumstances and challenges.”

Conserving Resistance vital

The Resistance’s accomplishments are everyone’s responsibility, and this is an ongoing battle, the most important issue in which is conserving those.

“There is an ongoing battle in the face of the US media, political, and economic tools, at the forefront of which is the dollar rate [in Lebanon],” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said.

“What helps the Americans in their plans is there being corruption and administrative issues in their target country,” the Lebanese resistance leader said, underlining the need for “initiatives and plans against the planned chaos, hegemony, and brainwashing against our people.”

Additionally, the Hezbollah chief stressed that “if Lebanon is pushed into chaos, then the world must brace for chaos all over the region, most notably within your protege, Israel.”

“As we were prepared for war in defense of our gas just as we are prepared to point our guns at your protege, Israel,” he added.

Regarding the extraction of gas from the Mediterranean, the Resistance leader highlighted that the Resistance would never “allow the postponing of the extraction of oil from Lebanese waters,” warning against any postponement of the sort and telling Americans to stay away from the issue.

Sayyed Nasrallah mourns earthquake victims

The Hezbollah chief took the opportunity during his speech to offer his condolences to the people and governments of Syria and Turkey in the wake of the earthquake that struck both nations last week. 

What happened is a “great humanitarian catastrophe, and it is a test of the humanity of every person, party, organization, and country.”

“The Biden administration failed the humanity test in Syria, unmasking its brutality and criminality, as it left the people to die in the first few days of the earthquake through its sanctions on Syria,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

“The discrimination and double standard on various levels when dealing with the repercussions of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria,” he added. “The West using double standards when it came to dealing with the devastating earthquake in both countries is a resounding human failure.”

Furthermore, Sayyed Nasrallah called on everyone to help Syria and Turkey return life to normal, saying the current situation was “the most difficult challenge.”

According to the resistance leader, the official steps taken by Lebanon toward Syria were “excellent”, and he noted that all the talks about Hezbollah pressuring Beirut were “nonsense”. “Lebanon is required to continue making efforts toward Syria for it to be part of the joint effort to lift the blockade imposed on it […] Lebanon is one of the main beneficiaries of sanctions being lifted off of Syria.”

Lebanon needs emergency plans

“Lebanon is up against a new challenge now, which is earthquakes taking place, according to the predictions of experts,” he said. “The government – even if it is a caretaker one – must take initiative and make emergency plans in anticipation of an earthquake.”

Lebanon, despite its modest capabilities, Sayyed Nasrallah underlined, “Can make comprehensive emergency plans for an earthquake, and one of the few first steps that must be considered by the state is the renovation of damaged buildings.”

Presidency issue must be resolved

The agreement with the Free Patriotic Movement is in critical condition, the Hezbollah chief said, hoping that the accord is preserved for the sake of national interest.

“There is nothing new regarding the Lebanese presidential issue,” he revealed. “This merit is internal, and no one can impose a president on the country. It is necessary [for the state] to continue looking for ways to solve the issue of the presidency.”

What’s currently taking place in Lebanon, Sayyed Nasrallah said, mainly the unreined dollar rate that is on the rise, is due to US pressures and the monitoring of funds being drawn from banks.

“There need to be efforts aimed at bolstering the Lebanese economy and looking for alternative markets, such as China and Russia,” he underscored. “We cannot wait to satisfy the Americans for our crisis to be solved, and there are no limits to the US demands in any direct negotiations.”

Occupation government pushing toward major clashes

Regarding the domestic situation in the Israeli occupation, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the “foolish enemy government is pushing toward two major clashes.”

“The first clash is an internal Israeli conflict, while the other is a confrontation with Palestine,” he clarified. “The confrontation with Palestine might extend to include the rest of the region.”

“The internal situation in Israel is unprecedented, especially in light of certain Israeli parties talking about internal war,” he added. “The President of the occupation himself admitted to fearing an imminent internal explosion and the occupation collapsing.”

“We highly revere the Palestinian people, especially the young generation in Al-Quds, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip,” he continued. “The region is before real Palestinian resistance and a real Palestinian intifada, and they are both embraced by the Palestinian people.”

West aiming to undermine Iran

There was no coverage in Western media and certain Arab media of the mass rallies that took place in Iran on the anniversary of the Islamic revolution, in which millions took to the streets, Sayyed Nasrallah highlighted.

“The Western world ignored the million-strong rally in Iran at a time when it focused on some riots to incite against Iran.”

Iranians took to the streets of more than 1400 Iranian cities to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran.

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S. Nasrallah: He Who Pushes Lebanon towards Collapse Has to Expect Chaos in ‘Israel’ (Videos)

 February 16, 2023

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in a televised speech via Al-Manar (Februry 16, 2023).

Marwa Haidar

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah directed several threats to the United States on Thursday, vowing that Washington’s scheme in Lebanon will be foiled and that Hezbollah’s retaliation would be ‘unimaginable’.

In a memorial ceremony of the Lebanese resistance movement’s martyred commanders, Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Sayyed Abbas Al-Moussawi and Hajj Imad Mughniyeh, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that whoever “pushes Lebanon towards chaos and collapse has to expect chaos in the entire region and especially in the Zionist entity.”

His eminence underlined importance of urgent dealing with the dramatic low of Lebanese Lira against US Dollar, as he called to work to find solutions to the harsh economic crisis in Lebanon.

As he saluted the resistance of Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation, Sayyed Nasrallah pointed to ‘unprecedented state’ in the Zionist entity, attributed to Israeli concerns over a potential collapse of the occupation regime before completing 80 years on its establishment.

The Hezbollah S.G., meanwhile, extended condolences, anew, to Syria and Turkey over the tragedy of the devastating earthquake which killed tens of thousands of people, injured tens of thousands others and left many more homeless, earlier this month.

About the Occasion

Sayyed Nasrallah renewed allegiance to the martyred commanders, vowing to follow their suit in defying challenges in a bid to defend the country and the nation against the enemies’ schemes.

“We hold memorial ceremonies of our martyred commanders in a bid to draw lessons and to confront the current challenges we are witnessing,” Sayyed Nasrallah addressed the resistance crowds who attended the memorial services in several regions across Lebanon: Beirut’s Dahiyeh, Bekaa’s Nabi Sheet, and southern towns of Jibsheet and Teir Dibba.

Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech aired via video link at Sayyed Shuhada Complex in Beirut’s Dahiyeh .

“Our martyred commanders stuck to the resistance path despite all hardships, abandonment and betrayal.”

In face of all forms of nowadays’ difficulties, “we will follow suit of our martyred commanders, we will assume our responsibilities and foil the US scheme,” the Lebanese resistance leader vowed.

Islamic Revolution Anniversary

As he congratulated the Iranian nation on the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, he slammed Western media over its biased coverage of the million-man marches which swept the Islamic Republic on the occasion.

“Western media turned blind eye to the million-man marches across Iran on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, as it focused on riots and instigated against the establishment in the Islamic Republic.”

Sayyed Nasrallah also addressed those who bet on the collapse of Iran as saying: “You will lose.”

Earthquake in Syria, Turkey

The Hezbollah S.G. referred to the February 6 earthquake in Turkey and Syria as “the most prominent event in the last two weeks.”

“We are before a great tragedy that tests the humanity of all of us,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, as he slammed the US over sanctions against the Syrian government.

“The US Administration abandoned people in Syria and left them to die due to its oppressive sanctions.”

He also criticized double standards adopted by the international community in dealing with the tragedy between Turkey and Syria.

As Sayyed Nasrallah thanked all those who responded to Hezbollah’s call to offer aid to quake-hit regions in Syria, he underlined importance of setting earthquake safety plans in Lebanon, noting that “our country is not safe of such risks.”

In this context, his eminence hailed the Lebanese official stance towards the Syrian government and praised the domestic response to offer all forms of humanitarian aid to the quake-hit areas.

“Israel’s Curse of Turning 80”

Talking about the situation in the Zionist entity, Sayyed Nasrallah described it as an “unprecedented,” internally and with Palestinians.

“The foolish Israeli government is pushing towards two forms of clashes, the first internally and the second is with Palestinians,” his eminence said, referring to the internal Israeli disagreements and the Palestinians’ operations against the occupation.

“Israeli officials are concerned about the collapse of the Zionist entity before completing 80 years on its establishment in 1948,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, hoping that the Zionist entity will be collapsed before turning 80.

“The foolish performance of the Israeli government may lead to escalation in the entire region, especially if an aggression is carried out in Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

US Scheme in Lebanon

Sayyed Nasrallah warned that Lebanon has entered, since 2019, a new phase of a US scheme aimed at bringing it back to the era of Washington’s control.

“The record low of Lebanese Lira against the US dollar needs to be dealt with urgently,” Sayyed Nasrallah stated, stressing that the US pressures as well as policy of deliberate withdrawal of cash and deposits “are the main causes behind the current economic crisis.”

He noted that the US has been exploiting the corruption and the mismanagement of the Lebanese administration to implement its scheme in Lebanon.

Sayyed Nasrallah, meanwhile, called for reviving the agricultural and industrial sectors and to seriously invest in Lebanon’s wealth of oil and gas.

In this context, he warned against procrastination in extracting oil and gas in the Lebanese territorial waters, reminding the US and the Zionist entity that Hezbollah “was serious in all threats delivered regarding the maritime deal and wealth.”

Hezbollah’s ‘Unimaginable’ Retaliation

Sayyed Nasrallah, meanwhile, stressed that the US scheme of creating chaos and pushing Lebanon towards collapse will fail, warning that the Lebanese resistance party won’t keep mum in this regard.

“We won’t keep mum over US schemes, whoever creates chaos in Lebanon has to expect chaos in ‘Israel’.”

“He who wants to push Lebanon towards chaos and collapse has to expect an unimaginable retaliation.”

Mohammad Salami contributed to this report.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

UN appeals billions for Ukraine, only millions for quake-hit Syria

15 Feb, 2023 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Despite the huge number of affected people and infrastructure, the UN launches only a $397 million humanitarian appeal to aid Syria.

Residents and rescue teams searching for survivors under the rubble in northwest Syria (AFP)

The United Nations on Wednesday said $5.6 billion was needed to provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine and to the millions who have fled the country after the start of the war, a day after it announced a $397 million humanitarian appeal to aid quake-hit Syria.

The UN estimated that 21.8 million Ukrainians were now in need of humanitarian assistance.

“The war continues to cause death, destruction and displacement daily, and on a staggering scale,” UN Humanitarian Chief Martin Griffiths said in a statement.

“We must do all we can to reach the hardest-to-reach communities, including those close to the front line,” Griffiths stressed, adding that “the suffering of the Ukrainian people is far from over – they continue to need international support.”

The UN said the requested $5.6 billion would allow it to reach the 15.3 million people in most dire need this year.

A full $1.7 billion of that amount was needed for assistance to the more than four million Ukrainian refugees hosted across eastern Europe, it highlighted.

Most of that would go to Poland, which is hosting more than 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees, and Moldova, the main transit country for Ukrainians making their way further into Europe.

According to the UN, women and children account for around 86% of the overall refugee population.

“Europe has proven capable of bold, collective action to help refugees,” UN Refugee Chief Filippo Grandi said in the statement.

“We must not, however, take this response, or the hospitality of host communities, for granted,” Grandi considered.

He added that “continued international support and solidarity is needed, until refugees are able to return to their homes in safety and dignity, which must also remain a priority.”

Since the war began, humanitarian organizations in Ukraine have been working to reach people across the country, with nearly 16 million receiving aid and protection services in 2022.

Inside Ukraine, “the war has profoundly affected access to livelihoods and disrupted market stability particularly in southern and eastern oblasts, further aggravating humanitarian suffering,” the appeal indicated.

It warned that “a majority of Ukrainians have reportedly reduced food consumption and spent savings,” pointing to soaring unemployment, skyrocketing inflation, and inadequate social assistance.

Read more: Iraqi Deputy PM says West ‘made many mistakes’ in their Syria policies

Only $397 million appeal to aid Syria

On the other hand, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the launch of a $397 million humanitarian appeal to aid Syria in the wake of the devastating earthquake, which has so far resulted in around 6,000 deaths.

“The Syria effort brings together the entire UN system and humanitarian partners and will help secure desperately needed, life-saving relief for nearly 5 million Syrians – including shelter, healthcare, food and protection,” Guterres told reporters as the appeal was launched.

According to the UN, the Flash Appeal will ensure assistance to the people with the most urgent humanitarian needs, covering an initial period of three months, until May.

“We all know that lifesaving aid has not been getting in at the speed and scale needed. The scale of this disaster is one of the worst in recent memory,” the UN Secretary-General highlighted.

“I have an urgent message to the international community: The human suffering from this epic natural disaster should not be made even worse by manmade obstacles — access, funding, supplies,” Guterres stressed, urging UN member states “and others to fully fund this effort without delay and help the millions of children, women and men whose lives have been upended by this generational disaster.”

“This is a moment for unity, for common humanity and concerted action,” he concluded.

According to the UN, 8.8 million people have been affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks in Syria. More than 4.2 million people have been affected by the earthquake in Aleppo, while 3 million people have been affected in Idlib, the UN noted, adding that more than 7,400 buildings have been entirely or partially destroyed.

The UN also estimated that up to 5.3 million people in Syria may have been made homeless as a result of the earthquake and its aftershocks.

While Syria clearly needs more than $394 million to rise from the aftermath of the earthquake, it remains dependent on aid sent from friendly countries.

Read more: Scammers profiting from Turkey-Syria earthquake: BBC

UN admits: ‘We have failed the people in northwest Syria’

This comes as the UN pointed out on Sunday that the international community has so far abandoned Syrians as they struggle to secure basic needs and aid to respond to the devastating earthquake that struck the country.

Griffiths said although a convoy of supplies was delivered by the organization to northwest Syria through Turkey, the effort was not enough as millions more have been impacted by the catastrophe.

“We have so far failed the people in northwest Syria. They rightly feel abandoned. Looking for international help that hasn’t arrived,” he tweeted.

“My duty and our obligation is to correct this failure as fast as we can. That’s my focus now,” Griffiths indicated.

Read more: Damascus opens 2 checkpoints to deliver aid to non-controlled areas

The Syrian Earthquake Has United the Arab World

Steven Sahiounie


Close to 9 million people in Syria have been affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, 65 seconds in duration on February 6, that Turkish President Erdogan has compared with the power released by atomic bombs. The hardest hit areas are Latakia, Aleppo, and Idlib.

The UN estimates that more than 4.2 million people have been affected in Aleppo province with 400,000 homeless, and 5,000 buildings declared unlivable. Aleppo has more than 1,600 dead and 10,000 injured.

The province of Idlib is a total population estimated at 3 million, but because there is no government or authority there, we can only guess how many have been affected.

UAE Aid plane landing in Aleppo International Airport

The UN says 5.5 million Syrians are without a home after the earthquake, with more than 7,400 buildings having been destroyed completely, or partially in Syria.

In Latakia, there are 820 dead, 142,000 homeless, and over 2,000 injured, with 102 buildings completely collapsed, and others condemned.

A total of 58 trucks have crossed from Turkey to north-west Syria through the Bab al Hawa crossing point over the past five days, carrying aid such as food, tents, and medicines. Those trucks are solely supplying Idlib, under the occupation of the armed group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Eleven trucks have gone through the newly opened border crossing of Bab al Salam today, carrying non-food items such as blankets, and mattresses.

Iraqi AAid plan landing in Damascus international Airport

Location matters in this quake

The map will show that Aleppo, Syria is just south of Gaziantep, Turkey which was the epicenter. Aleppo was heavily damaged in the earthquake, adding more misery to a city that was under the occupation of Al Qaeda terrorists in the eastern section until being liberated in December 2016.

Looking at a map, you see that Latakia is a 2 ½ hour drive west of Aleppo on the M4 highway. It seems like a long distance, but the power of the 7.8 magnitude brought the epicenter and Latakia together because they share the same fault line, which Aleppo does not.

Tunisian Aid plane landing in Aleppo International Airport

UN: no roadblocks to aid, no politics

Rula Amin, UN Refugee Agency Senior Communications Advisor, urged cooperation among nations to help Turkey and Syria. She said there should be no roadblocks to assistance for people in need. Referring to the UN and western aid coming almost exclusively to Idlib, and by-passing those in need in Latakia and Aleppo, she urged all to put politics aside, and focus on getting aid to those in need regardless of whether they are in the US-EU supported area in Idlib, or whether they live in Aleppo and Latakia under the Syrian administration from Damascus. Amin is no stranger to Syria. In March 2011, Amin was one of the very first international journalists in Deraa, covering what she had claimed was a ‘popular uprising’, and even interviewed the cleric who was the key player of the Obama-designed US-NATO attack on Syria for ‘regime change

.’ She did not go as far as to demand the lifting of all US-EU sanctions on Syria to send aid, but her meaning was clear. The sanctions prevent aid from arriving in Damascus. On February 9 the US Department of the Treasury issued General License 23, which allows for a humanitarian waiver of supplies to government-controlled areas in Syria, but must be received by an NGO and not the Syrian government. The 180-day waiver is far too short, as the need is enormous, and will people will need years to grapple with the damages.  Rebuilding homes and businesses may take a decade or more. Also, most governments abroad would be sending official aid to Syria through a government-to-government mechanism, and using an NGO is a tedious stipulation designed to discourage aid from being sent.

Who gave to Damascus?

On Tuesday, a plane landed from Saudi Arabia at the Aleppo International Airport, carrying 35 tons of humanitarian aid.  Aid to Damascus also arrived from: ChinaRussia, AlgeriaIraqIranUAE, BangladeshLibyaBelarusJordanCuba, Venezuela, Tunisia, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Cyprus, Hungary, India, and Sudan.

Jordanian Aid plane landing in Damascus international Airport

Italy sent two planeloads of aid to Beirut, Lebanon to be transported to Syria by land. This demonstrates the extreme fear that western allies of the US have of the sanctions. By sending the aid to Lebanon, which is not sanctioned, Italy feels more comfortable that the US Treasury will not issue massive penalties against them.

Who refused aid to Damascus?

The US, the EU, and all US allies such as Canada have sent nothing to Syria for the earthquake-ravaged zones of Latakia and Aleppo.  According to America, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the allies of the US, there is no place called Syria.  There is only a small, rural agricultural province called Idlib.  Syria is 10,000 years old, and Damascus and Aleppo both tie as the undisputed oldest inhabited cities on earth.  But the great minds in Washington, DC. only acknowledge the tiny area called Idlib.  The terrorist-controlled Idlib is suffering, and has innocent unarmed civilians in need of help; however, Latakia, and Aleppo are far bigger and have sustained more deaths, injuries, and structural damages than Idlib. The US and the west have used politics to judge who gets helped, and who is forgotten. The Syrian people will never forget this. The US and EU sanctions have made life unbearable in Syria before the earthquake of the century, and now when politics should be set aside for humanitarian needs, the US doggedly holds on to their dogmatic ideology to make sure the Syrian people know the full disdain of the American government. The Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates visited Damascus and met with President Assad after the quake, in an act of defiance of US-dictated policy.

Algerian aid plane in Aleppo International Airport

Where is Government controlled Syria?

The US-NATO attack on Syria beginning in March 2011 has resulted in three separate administrations in Syria.  The biggest territory, about 75%, is the central government in Damascus. Aleppo and Latakia are the two hardest hit by the earthquake which is under the Damascus administration.

The second administration is the province of Idlib, which is an olive-growing region between Latakia and Aleppo. There is no government there.  The 3 million persons there live under the occupation of an armed terrorist group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly called Jibhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda. The terrorists embedded themselves there in 2012, and until now are safe from attack because the US, EU, and UN all lobby for their protection, and aid. The US supports the Al Qaeda terrorists because they represent the US interests in Syria to be decided upon in a final political settlement in Syria under the auspices of the UN.

The third administration is the Kurdish self-proclaimed region of the northeast, where the US military is occupying the Syrian oil wells, and allowing the Kurds to sell the stolen oil in Iraq to cover their expenses. This area was not affected by the earthquake. This administration exists separate from Damascus only because of the US military illegal occupation

Where is Idlib?

Many of the residents of Idlib most affected by the earthquake have had to sleep outside among the olive groves, in freezing temperatures. The UN acknowledged the international response to Idlib has been a failure.

Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets, an award-winning video troupe headquartered in Washington, DC. has denounced the UN as incompetent in their response to the needs in Idlib. The White Helmets work solely in Idlib and have international donors. Al-Saleh was angry after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Syrian President Assad had agreed to allow UN aid deliveries to the area through two border crossings from Turkey for three months. The White Helmets and the terrorists do not recognize the Syrian government.  Damascus had tried to send aid to Idlib, but the terrorists turned it back saying, “We don’t want help from the enemy.”  Previously the UN trucks of aid to Idlib were also stalled after the terrorists demanded a $1,000 fee for each of the 10 trucks.

Why are the borders controlled?

The Syrian government has controlled the border crossings of Syria for security reasons. Serena Shim, an American journalist from Detroit, witnessed and reported seeing a UN food truck carrying Al Qaeda terrorists, and their weapons, from Turkey into Syria near Idlib. She was murdered in Turkey just days after publishing her report.

The terrorists in Idlib are contained in a small area and have weapons including missiles which have frequently been directed at Latakia, and Kessab, a small Christian Armenia village just north of Latakia. The Syrian government wants to keep the weapons from flowing into Idlib while allowing UN, and other humanitarian aid to flow into the 3 million civilians who are held there as human shields.

Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist

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Western sanctions will mean that more Syrians die after the earthquakes

February 11, 2023

The economic stranglehold and selective approach to aid will lead to more death and displacement

The economic stranglehold and selective approach to aid will lead to more death and displacement

Feb 10, 2023,

-by Eva K Bartlett

Following the devastating earthquakes that rocked Türkiye, Syria and their neighboring countries on February 6, leaving more than 20,000 dead, Damascus is struggling to deal with this unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe as it remains under brutal Western sanctions that have brought the country to its knees. 

The West’s war on Syria that began in early 2011 failed to topple its elected president, but the subsequent years of increasingly cruel sanctions – all in the name of ‘helping the Syrian people’ – have succeeded in rendering life miserable and near impossible, with most unable to afford to properly feed their families, much less heat their homes.  

Now, in a time of crisis, the Syrian people cannot even receive donations or emergency support from abroad. One supporter set up a GoFundMe campaign, only to have it taken down due to the sanctions. Type the word “Ukraine” into the search field on PayPal or GoFundMe and you’ll see countless appeals for sending money to Ukraine. But for Syrians, Western platforms like these are off-limits, and have been for years.

Adding to the destruction left by war

On February 6, southern Türkiye and northern Syria were hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake, followed by dozens of aftershocks and then another earthquake. While the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq and others were affected, the worst of the damage was in Türkiye and Syria.

As of February 9, the official death toll in Syria was 1,347, with more than 2,300 injured. Nearly 300,000 Syrians have been displaced due to the earthquakes. The scenes initially coming out of Türkiye and Syria were heartbreaking and catastrophic, with buildings collapsing in front of people, and piles of rubble with the dead and the maimed trapped below.

In Syria, the earthquakes added to already extensive damage from the war. Aleppo, the country’s second-largest city, was tragically prone to building collapses because of the terrorist occupation that had lasted until 2016. The militants had frequently tunneled under buildings, in many cases in order to lay explosives and destroy them, as they did with the Chamber of Industry in April 2014. With the Syrian population already struggling to just survive prior to the earthquakes, now Aleppo and the coastal regions of Syria affected by the earthquakes face even more death, injury and displacement.

Sanctions were already killing Syrians

Even without the earthquakes, Syrians struggled to get medication, hospitals struggled to get or maintain critical machinery and equipment, and the population as a whole suffocated as the country’s economy steadily worsened, all by design.

Western leaders are adamant that the only ones to blame for the Syrians’ suffering before the earthquake were President Bashar Assad and his government (or “regime,” as Washington calls any undesirable foreign government it hasn’t yet toppled), whose “dictatorship” caused the people to rise up and start a civil war (actually a US-led proxy war against Syria to overthrow said government). The sanctions, ostensibly aimed at the “regime,” are, by this logic, intended to helpand protect the general population. In reality, they are strangling Syrian civilians.

Here’s what life is like for many Syrians now, according to British journalist Vanessa Beeley: “The US and its proxy Kurdish separatist forces are occupying Syrian resources in the northeast which includes their oil, which means of course that the bulk of Syria is reliant upon Iranian oil to keep any kind of electricity running. At the moment, we have basically about two or three hours of electricity per day. There is no heating in the majority of homes across Syria.”

As Beeley notes, earthquake-displaced Syrians – unless they receive emergency aid – face freezing and wet conditions, “without any alternative shelter, without any electricity, without any heating.” And thanks to the sanctions, desperately needed humanitarian aid and fundraising is difficult. International cargo planes can’t land in Syria, and crowdfunding services and even credit cards are unavailable. The virtue-signaling Western nations – the main cause of suffering in Syria since 2011 – have not only persisted in keeping the sanctions in place; most of them haven’t offered any meaningful help since the earthquake, just hollow words.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry blamed the sanctions for amplifying the miserable situation, and likewise pointed out that the US’ illegal presence in Syria and theft of Syrian resources was also exacerbating the economic situation.

“Frequent [US] military strikes and harsh economic sanctions have caused huge civilian casualties and taken away the means to subsistence of the Syrians. As we speak, the US troops continue to occupy Syria’s principal oil-producing regions. They have plundered more than 80% of Syria’s oil production and smuggled and burned Syria’s grain stock. All this has made Syria’s humanitarian crisis even worse.” 

A friend in need is a neighbor on the sanctions list

All of the above has left Syrians to rely mostly on the country’s friends for help. Incidentally, many of those nations and groups are among the most vilified by the West.

Following the earthquake, Russia’s Ministry of Defense dispatched “over 300 personnel, and 60 military and special vehicles” for rescue and aid efforts in Syria. The Russian Emergencies Ministry sent more than 100 rescue workers to Türkiye and Syria, including an airmobile hospital with 40 medics.

Iran sent a plane with 45 tons of medical, food and sanitary aid to Syria, and has pledged to send more.

Even battered Libya, itself largely destroyed by another Western regime-change project, sent a plane with 40 tons of medical and humanitarian aid, as well as an ambulance, to Aleppo International Airport.

Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance movement, sent convoys of humanitarian aid to Syria. Lebanon’s army said it would send members of its Engineering Regiment to Syria, to contribute to the search and rescue operations.

Not everyone who offered their help to Syria are on Western sanctions list, of course. Algeria sent 115 tons of aid of food and medical supplies, tents and blankets, as well as 86 specialized civil protection personnel. The United Arab Emirates will apparently send $50 million to Syria for relief efforts, and Indian, Emirati and Jordanian planes carrying humanitarian and medical aid for Syrian victims arrived in the capital on Wednesday. Even New Zealand pledged to contribute NZ$500,000 “for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) to meet humanitarian needs.”

“Criminal @nytimes admits that West sanctions are preventing aid supply to #Syria, then changes to blame #Syria for #US inhumanity.”
[source: ]

Meanwhile, Western corporate media stuck to the narrative of blaming the Assad government, with a New York Times article on the issue apparently saying initially that Western sanctions had hampered relief efforts to Syria – before quickly changing the line to say the government “tightly controls what aid it allows into opposition-held areas.” This is in-keeping with the old trope that the Syrian government denies aid to civilians in areas occupied by terrorists, which in most Western media are dubbed “rebels” and “opposition fighters.” This is something I and other journalists on the ground have repeatedly debunked, visiting liberated areas and hearing time and again that locals had been starving because terrorists had been hoarding humanitarian aid, denying it to civilians or selling it at massively inflated prices.

Western aid is not for everyone

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned about a looming “secondary disaster” in Syria, pointing to “major disruptions” to basic life supplies, but failing to highlight the role of Western sanctions or the terrorist presence in northwestern Syria as the underlying causes. Reports on UN aid reaching northern Syria via Türkiye also downplayed the presence of Al-Qaeda terrorists in the areas mentioned, as well as Türkiye’s years-long support for Syrian anti-government forces. Such reports likewise neglected to mention the need for emergency relief in government-controlled areas of Syria, and the government’s efforts to bring that relief in.

Some 12 years into the West’s proxy war on Syria, the continued denial of the very basics of emergency humanitarian relief to Syrians outside “rebel-controlled” areas, shows how little the West’s claim to care for Syrians really matter. The lack of concern by the UN, WHO, and affiliated aid agencies for the Syrians of Aleppo, among other government-controlled areas, is not at all surprising, given these bodies over the years systematically downplayed terrorism against Syrian civilians.

As the humanitarian disaster continues, it is also worth remembering that, over the decades, Syria has taken in refugees from numerous countries. Yet, in spite of the current emergency situation and the very dire need to lift the West’s sanctions, it is unlikely the “benevolent” West will change its crippling anti-Syria policies to allow Syrians to merely survive.


UN official challenges punitive unilateral sanctions suffocating Syrians

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

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