While most Western and Arab countries have been sending aids to Turkey following Monday’s destructive earthquake that shook Syria as well, only a few countries, including Iran, have come to help Syrians.
Four days after an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 occurred in parts of Turkey and Syria, many countries around the world have announced their readiness to help the earthquake victims.
As of this Friday, the death of at least 23,000 people from both countries (19,875 dead in Turkey and 3,384 dead in Syria) has been confirmed, and hundreds of aid workers from different countries are still working hard and in extreme cold to save more people.
The intensity of this earthquake was in fact so great that it was also felt in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and parts of Ukraine and Europe including Greece, and Bulgaria.
But countries that are rushing to help Turkey have been quite slow to reach Syria, with Iran being among the few countries that has actually helped. To read between the lines, unlike Turkey, where more than 65 countries have already sent their humanitarian aids, few countries have taken action to help the victims of the earthquake in Syria. Even the United Nations has not been able to take significant action to help the Syrian victims the way that it should.
In an Op-Ed published by CNN this Wednesday, journalists Nadeen Ebrahim and Dalya Al Masri explained that while Turkey has received “an outpouring of support and aid from dozens of countries, outreach to Syria has been less enthusiastic”, raising concerns that victims of Syria border may be neglected while those in Turkey are being provided for.
“Syrians must not be forgotten,” Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, told CNN. “Often, those who suffer the worst during such disasters are those who were already vulnerable.”
Likewise, Raialyoum Arabic independent newspaper pointed out to the help that Arab countries are providing for Turkey while they seem to forget their closer Muslim neighbor. “The creation of air bridges by Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, to save the victims of the earthquake in Turkey is commendable because it is a human and moral duty; What is unfortunate, however, is that this sense of altruism is not seen when it comes to Syria, a country under the suffocating American-European blockade that many Arab governments are also part of”, the newspaper writes.
Iran in the front line for helping earthquake-hit Syrians
Nevertheless, some Arab and Islamic countries rushed to help the people affected by the earthquake in Syria, including the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran was in fact among the first countries that acted quickly to help the Syrian earthquake victims and sent its relief cargo to the affected areas in Syria. The Iranian airplanes carrying four separate packages of humanitarian aid to Syria landed at the two airports of Damascus and Aleppo on Tuesday and Thursday.
“Iran’s first humanitarian aid package in the form of 45 tons, including blankets, tents, medicine, food and other necessities for the Syrian earthquake victims, arrived at the Aleppo airport this Tuesday morning and will be quickly evacuated and distributed among the earthquake victims,” said Mehdi Sobhani, the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Syria, adding that more aids are on the way.
The Embassy of Iran in Syria also issued a short statement on Twitter this Friday, announcing the arrival of the fifth package of humanitarian aid from Iran arrived in Damascus, which included “45 tons of blankets, carpets, tents and food.”
Russia, Oman, Libya, Pakistan, Armenia and Jordan were also among the other countries that have sent their humanitarian aid to Syria several times.