Between 6 and 7 February, a series of powerful earthquakes struck Syria and Turkey, decimating cities and claiming thousands of lives.
From Washington to Brussels, leaders were quick to offer words of support. “We stand in full solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria,” wrote head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would “do all that we can to assist in Türkiye and Syria.”
But while promising support, those same leaders continue to impose a set of sanctions that are suffocating the Syrian people and strangling humanitarian relief to victims of the earthquake.
According to the UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, the sanctions imposed on Syria have caused shortages of medicines, medical equipment, and drinking water. 12 million Syrian people grappled with food insecurity before the earthquake struck, and 90 per cent of the population lived below the poverty line.
Now, in hindering both humanitarian and reconstruction efforts, the sanctions are threatening to turn that crisis into a catastrophe.
Khaled Hboubati, head of the Syrian Red Crescent, noted that Syrian relief efforts are stymied by a lack of fire trucks and heavy machinery. “The economic sanctions imposed on our country are the main obstacle to getting these machines.”
Join the global call to lift the sanctions, save Syrian lives, and support reconstruction after the devastating earthquake.