As aid is rushed into Turkey, Syria could be left behind

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Abu Dhabi

Syrian victims of the devastating earthquake that hit their nation and Turkey on Monday might turn out to be hostages of the politics which have divided Syria for over a decade, analysts have warned.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which struck southern Turkey within the early hours of Monday, was adopted by greater than 100 aftershocks and a second 7.5 magnitude earthquake. Greater than 11,000 have been killed throughout Syria and Turkey, and tons of extra are feared trapped below the rubble.

Whereas Turkey has obtained an outpouring of assist and support from dozens of nations, outreach to Syria has been much less enthusiastic, elevating considerations that victims on one aspect of the Turkish-Syrian border could also be uncared for whereas others are offered for.

“Syrians should not be forgotten,” Aya Majzoub, Amnesty Worldwide’s deputy regional director for the Center East and North Africa, informed CNN. “Typically, those that undergo the worst throughout such disasters are those that had been already susceptible.”

Observers say politics is guilty.

Turkey is a NATO member whose worldwide stature has solely grown lately. Syria, alternatively, is dominated by a myriad of disparate teams. Its regime, internationally sidelined and closely sanctioned as a consequence of its brutal suppression of an rebellion there that began in 2011, counts Iran and Russia as its closest allies – each international pariahs.

The Syrian regime is shunned by most Western international locations. However chief Bashar al-Assad has begun forging ties with former enemies as regional states welcome him again into the fold. Final 12 months, the United Arab Emirates welcomed Assad in Abu Dhabi, and final month Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned that the pair might quickly meet for peace talks.

Among the areas of Syria most impacted by the earthquake are managed by the regime, others by Turkish-backed and US-backed opposition forces, Kurdish rebels and Sunni Islamist fighters. Idlib, certainly one of Syria’s final opposition strongholds, is managed by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) group, an armed Sunni Islamist group.

“It’s nonetheless an energetic battle zone, the Syrian disaster is much from over,” mentioned Charles Lister, senior fellow and director of the Syria and Countering Terrorism & Extremism program on the Center East Institute in Washington, DC. “The UN support mission is a sophisticated arrange.”

Seventy international locations and 14 worldwide organizations have supplied Turkey aid following the quake, Erdogan mentioned on Tuesday, together with the US, the UK, the UAE, Israel and Russia.

The worldwide support scenario in Syria is much less clear. Up to now, the UAE, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Egypt, Algeria and India have already despatched aid on to regime-controlled airports. Others equivalent to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, China, Canada and the Vatican have pledged support; nevertheless it’s unclear if that aid will probably be despatched on to the regime.

The regime insists that every one support to the nation, together with support that’s meant for areas exterior its management, be directed to the capital Damascus.

“We’re able to work with all who need to present Syria, from inside Syria, so entry from inside Syria is there,” Syria’s consultant to the UN, Bassam al-Sabbagh, informed a information convention in New York on Monday. “So, anybody who’d like to assist Syria they will coordinate with the federal government and we will probably be prepared to take action.”

That hasn’t been obtained effectively by activists and observers who concern that the regime might hamper well timed support to hundreds of quake victims in rebel-held areas, most of whom are ladies and youngsters, based on the UN.

“The Assad regime has systematically siphoned off support and/or blocked it from reaching non-regime areas (up to now),” tweeted Mai El-Sadany, a Washington-based human rights lawyer and managing editor on the Tahrir Institute for Center East Coverage. “The worldwide group should urgently discover methods to make sure that emergency help and assist reaches the individuals of northwest Syria.”

Syria’s ministry of international affairs didn’t reply to CNN’s request for remark.

In northwest Syria, the place the UN says greater than 4.1 million individuals already depend upon humanitarian support, a political and army standoff between Assad and opposition forces is barely anticipated to stifle worldwide help.

“There may be prone to be much less worldwide help offered to opposition areas as a result of that’s moreover difficult,” Lister informed CNN. “It’s not an space managed by a sovereign authorities and makes it troublesome for support operators.”

The ache on the bottom extends past the rubble. I spoke with an eyewitness on the bottom right here in Gaziantep, Turkey, who’s searching for his buddy below the rubble.— Becky Anderson (@BeckyCNN) February 7, 2023

Already, UN support to the area has been disrupted as a consequence of injury inflicted on roads by the earthquake, the UN has mentioned. The broken Bab al-Hawa crossing is the one humanitarian support hall between Turkey and Syria.

“We’re exploring all avenues to succeed in individuals in want and conducting assessments on feasibility,” Madevi Solar-Suon, a spokesperson for the UN Workplace for the Coordination of Humanitarian Help (OCHA), informed CNN on Tuesday. “We do have support however this street challenge is an enormous problem as of now.”

Majzoub mentioned residents of the northwest “dwell in appalling circumstances, with little entry to enough shelter, water, sanitation, and healthcare, as a result of Syrian authorities’s denial and obstruction of entry to important companies.”

The rebel-held area can also be grappling with a harsh winter and lethal cholera outbreak.

“They rely completely on humanitarian support facilitated by the UN cross-border mechanism from Turkey, which permits the UN and its companions to offer support with out the authorization of the Syrian authorities,” she mentioned.

The Syrian regime has additionally used the chance to name for sanctions towards it to be lifted. Its UN envoy Sabbagh mentioned on Tuesday that planes refused to land at Syrian airports due to American and European sanctions. “So even these international locations who need to ship humanitarian help, they can not use the airplane cargo due to the sanctions,” he mentioned in New York.

The Damascus-based Syrian Arab Crimson Crescent made the same enchantment on Tuesday, including that it was able to ship support into rebel-held areas.

In November, a UN-appointed human rights knowledgeable known as for the instant lifting of unilateral sanctions towards Syria, saying they’re exacerbating the destruction and trauma suffered by unusual residents there.

The US has, nevertheless, dominated out altering its place on the regime.

“It could be fairly ironic, if not even counterproductive, for us to succeed in out to a authorities that has brutalized its individuals over the course of a dozen years now – gassing them, slaughtering them, being accountable for a lot of the struggling that they’ve endured,” US State Division spokesperson Ned Value informed a media briefing on Monday.

Some analysts agree that the regime might exploit the tragedy for its personal profit.

“It’s a really handy time for the regime to be making that argument as a result of if sanctions had been dropped, the ramifications of the a lot broader geopolitical scenario can be sport altering,” mentioned Lister.

Extra reporting by CNN’s Chris Liakos

Iran reveals an underground air pressure base

Iran on Tuesday revealed an underground air pressure base known as “Eagle 44,” the primary within the nation giant sufficient to accommodate fighter jets, the official IRNA information mentioned. The “Eagle 44” base is able to storing and working fighter jets and drones, IRNA mentioned. The report didn’t elaborate on the placement of the bottom.

Background: In Might, Iran’s military gave particulars about one other underground base, which homes drones, constructed because the nation seeks to guard army property from potential air strikes by regional arch foe Israel.
Why it issues: The announcement comes lower than 10 days after a drone assault on a army plant in Iran’s central metropolis of Isfahan that US media shops attributed to Israel. IRNA mentioned the brand new underground base was one of many nation’s most necessary air pressure bases, constructed deep underground, housing fighters geared up with long-range cruise missiles.

Swedish PM able to restart talks with Turkey when Ankara is

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson mentioned on Tuesday he was able to restart stalled negotiations over Sweden’s software to hitch NATO as quickly as Turkey was, Reuters reported.

Background: Finland and Sweden sought NATO membership shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine final 12 months, and whereas most member states have ratified the purposes, Turkey has but to provide its approval in what have to be a unanimous course of. Turkey final week mentioned it seems positively on Finland’s software, however doesn’t assist Sweden’s, although the 2 Nordic neighbors are looking for to hitch on the similar time.
Why it issues: The three nations final 12 months reached an settlement on a method ahead, however Ankara suspended talks final month as tensions rose following protests in Stockholm, the place a far-right politician burned a duplicate of the Quran. Turkey goes to elections in Might.

Qatari, Bahraini international ministers focus on launching talks to finish unresolved points

Bahrain’s international minister met along with his Qatari counterpart in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh on Tuesday to debate mechanisms to launch talks on unresolved points between the 2 international locations, Bahrain’s state information company reported.

Background: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt ended a three-year political and financial boycott of Qatar in January 2021. However since then there have been no bilateral discussions between Doha and Manama to resolve remaining variations. All however Bahrain restored journey and commerce hyperlinks in 2021.
Why it issues: The transfer comes amid an obvious thaw in relations. Bahrain’s crown prince spoke with Qatar’s emir in a telephone name final month, in an indication the 2 Gulf states might transfer in direction of repairing relations two years after the Arab boycott was lifted. The dialog got here after the Qatari emir and Bahrain’s king attended a small Arab summit hosted by the UAE’s president in Abu Dhabi.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia: #We_are_all_AlMosahf

Muslim Twitter customers are fuming {that a} vastly widespread Twitter account has been suspended.

AlMosahf (The Quran), an account that tweeted snippets from the Islamic holy ebook, had greater than 13 million followers earlier than Twitter took motion towards it.

An Arabic hashtag displaying solidarity with the account was trending in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Many customers noticed it as an try and silence Muslims, and known as on Twitter and its proprietor Elon Musk to rethink the choice.

One consumer addressed Musk, saying: “I don’t suppose it violated the Twitter guidelines as a result of its tweets are quoted from the Holy Quran. We demand the lifting of the suspension of this account.”

Not all customers had been upset with the suspension. Some decried the account’s use of incomplete Quranic verses that they mentioned are taken out of context and thus change the that means of the textual content.

The account proprietor seems to run sister accounts in English, French and German, on which it posts translations of Quranic verses. One other sister account that exhibits Quranic movies has been campaigning for the unique account to be unblocked.

Twitter’s communications account didn’t reply to CNN’s request for remark.