Widespread death and destruction plays second fiddle to Western foreign policy in Syria

By Bradley Bernard
Chief Leader Writer

SYRIA and Turkey are reeling from one of the most devastating earthquakes in recent history.

Tens of thousands are feared to have died from the impact – but only Ankara is able to get the support it needs.

Sanctions – implemented by Western nations at the start of the Syrian Civil War – are preventing vital supplies from making it through to hard-hit areas of the region.

Bashar Al-Assad’s presence has meant the US and Europe are reluctant to route aid directly through the government. Officials have made clear the quake won’t change that.

While humanitarian aid is technically exempt from sanctions, but charities in practice have said wiring money and delivering supplies is near impossible.

Bassam Sabbagh, Syria’s permanent envoy to the UN, has said that international cargo planes “refuse” to land in Syrian airports to deliver earthquake aid due to the threat of sanctions.

Syrian Arab Red Crescent director Khaled Hboubati told the Associated Press that unilateral Western sanctions have exacerbated the “difficult humanitarian situation”.

“There is no fuel even to send (aid and rescue) convoys, and this is because of the blockade and sanctions”, Hboubati warned.

Despite the disaster, Western nations have not let up – even in their rhetoric.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said it would be “ironic, if not even counterproductive, for us to reach out to a government that has brutalized its people over the course of a dozen years now.”

Price said the U.S. would continue to provide aid through “humanitarian partners on the ground.”

A spokesperson for the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said the “sanctions regime was put in place in response to human rights violations and other abuses by the regime and their cronies.”

Both have supported the White Helmets organisation as a means of providing aid.

But it’s not a non-partisan organisation, and areas under government control will struggle with sanctions and a lack of aid.

Europe and the US have their own political reasons for the ongoing sanctions campaign against Syria.

But in a time of desperate need, not lifting it shows what Washington and its allies choose to value over human life.

Opinion articles featured on Redaction Report reflect the views of their author, not those of the publication as a whole. Only Editorials display the opinions of our management.

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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