By Dr Waiel Awwad
Many of my colleagues and friends in India were puzzled as to why less coverage of the destruction of Syria due to earthquakes and not much aid are flowing there. Are the Syrians belonging to a lesser God?
On the 6th of February at dawn hours a devastating earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey left thousands dead and injured, and hundreds of properties left millions of people homeless in the open with the least of essentials, no food, no power, and no medicine, especially in Syria. The people of Syria are already suffering harsh winter and have no income, because of the war imposed on them for the last twelve years. They are left at the mercy of God. You can hear only crying voices under the rubble calling for help and with the lack of heavy machinery for the rescue team in Syria. The voices are waning with eyes full of tears and wailing of relatives watching their loved ones dying helplessly. The reports from the ground in Turkey speaks of discriminatory treatment by the authorities and many reported that rescue teams gave priority to saving Turkish citizens first. Syrian refugees were even evicted from shelters to be replaced by Turkish families. The United Nations has estimated around 5.5 million Syrians tendered homelessly and 15 million Syrians affected by the earthquake require immediate assistance.
The aerial photos of the damaged areas in the northern part of Syria are very painful and heartbreaking to see the amount of destruction to once beautiful cities and terrains. It looks like a ghost city and many people were evacuated to safer places. In fact, the Syrian’s suffering continues unabated long before the natural calamity. It started with the war on Syria where billions of US Dollars were spent on arming and training more than 50,000 foreign mercenaries from all over the world who found their way into the Syrian-Turkey border camp trained, armed fully, and smuggled into Syria. Even heavy machines were provided to dig underground tunnels to smuggle arms vehicles, rocket launchers, tanks, and ammunition.
Hence the critical rescue efforts at the beginning of the aftermath of the devastating earthquake were denied and help only poured into Turkey where you could see the sky lightened with so many humanitarian flights carrying food supplies and medical and rescue teams while over the Syrian sky, few Arab countries started sending aids from Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, and Iran ran to the rescue of Syrian victims. More Arab and foreign countries joined the rescue operation by sending aid to Iran, Russia, India, Venezuela, and many others now helping.
Many Syrians lost their lives because of the US and the West politicizing humanitarian aid. By imposing unilateral sanctions for a decade, this human-made disaster made the life of Syrians more miserable and hampered the returns of forced refugees back to their countries. Syrians are unable to rebuild houses destroyed by the war in very harsh conditions with a short supply of fuel, power, and materials. Syrian expats find it very difficult to wire money to their loved ones in Syria for years, because the US and sanctions followed by Western countries, do not allow any monetary agency to transfer money to Syria.
The misery of the Syrian people unabated, with many areas under the control of forces created by Turkey and the US occupational forces. Jabhat Al-Nusra and Haiaat Tahreer Alsham are organizations affiliated with Al Qaeda and ISIS respectively. The United Nations Humanitarian Agencies admitted that the rebels in those areas are denying entry to convoys of assistance and hampering the reach of humanitarian supplies to the affected areas under their control. The Western hypocrisy in handling the tragedy is worse than the actual steps taken to help save victims’ lives. In fact, they are delivering aid in the northern part of Syria to the so-called White Helmet embedded with Al Qaeda terrorist organizations in Syrian territory under their control.
How can you help Syria?
The love and affection from Indians from all strata of society were warm and affectionate. Good wishes, prayer meetings, and aid delivery to the Syrian embassy in New Delhi started pouring in like emergency medicines, tents, blankets, clothes, diapers, pampers, torches and even candles.
I said on a Television debate in the aftermath of the earthquake that Indians proved once again that they are more Arabs than a few Arab governments who did not extend their hands fearing US lash.
The voices in many parts of the world are rising and calling for an end to unjustified unilateral economic sanctions against Syria. In spite of the USA’s announcement of temporarily lifting the sanction, not a single European country till the moment of writing this article has asked for permission for a humanitarian flight!
Your voice can be heard also and make a difference, if you act by volunteering, sending aid, and telling those countries that supported terrorist organizations still active in the northern part of Syria with more than 50000 terrorist missionaries sheltered by foreign forces in that area, that they can assure delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria and save lives of many Syrians who are left at the mercy of God the mercifulness to save them.
The author is a Senior International journalist of Syrian origin based in India.
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