News “Assad’s earthquake could use Trump against the West.” News headlines and events Last Minute Russia
It is interpreted that Syrian President Bashar Esat is trying to profit politically from the earthquake that caused heavy destruction in southern Turkey and northern Syria, and that he is pushing for the delivery of foreign aid from regions under his control.
During this period of intense compassion for the Syrian people affected by the earthquake, Damascus took the opportunity to reiterate its long-standing demand for aid in coordination with the Assad government, according to an analysis published by the Reuters news agency. . The Assad government has been ostracized by the West since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011.
The Western powers, on the other hand, show no signs of being ready to comply with Assad’s demand. However, difficulties in getting aid from Turkey to opposition-held areas in northwestern Syria from the border are strengthening Esat’s position.
The flow of aid, which is vital for the 4 million people living in the region, was stopped after the earthquake struck. But the UN spokesman expressed hope that the flow of aid could begin tomorrow. The Damascus government has long noted that aid to opposition-held areas in the north should come from Syria, not the Turkish border.
Aron Lund, a Syria expert at the Century Foundation, said: “It is clear that this crisis could turn into an opportunity of sorts for Assad. Assad may say, “You must work with me or through me.”
“If Assad is smart, he facilitates the delivery of aid to areas beyond his control and takes the opportunity to appear responsible, but the regime is very stubborn,” Lund said.
Western countries are excluding Assad because of his brutality during a civil war that lasted over 11 years, which killed thousands of people, forced more than half of the population of Syria to leave their places and forced millions of people to live as refugees in other countries. .
Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, now controls most of the divided country.
The US State Department rejects the suggestion that the earthquake could create an opportunity for Washington to communicate with Damascus, and notes that it will continue to provide assistance to Syrians living in government-controlled territories, not through the government of Damascus, but through non-governmental organizations. on the ground.
“It would be quite ironic, if not counterproductive, to get involved with a government that has tortured, gassed and killed its own people for years,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said this week.
However, the leaders of some Arab countries, who were on the same line with America, contacted Assad after the earthquake. These leaders include the King of Jordan and the heads of state of the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Jordan and the UAE, which have supported the opposition in Syria in the past but have normalized relations with Assad in recent years, have sent aid to Damascus, according to Syrian state media.
Government-controlled areas in Syria were hit hard by the earthquake. It is recorded that the death toll in Syria so far is about 2,500 people, and the number of deaths in the regions controlled by the government and the opposition is almost equal.
Russia, a key ally of Syria, has sent rescue teams to the country and has mobilized forces in Syria to assist.
Russia, under US sanctions and at war with Ukraine, rushed to the aid of Syria. Moscow sees an alliance with Damascus as a trump card against the West.
Fight for resources
Moscow has long stressed that sending aid to northwestern Syria via Turkey violates Syrian sovereignty. The increase in the duration of this relief operation led to diplomatic differences between Russia and the Western powers in the UN Security Council.
Syrians in opposition-held lands are concerned that if the Turkish route is closed, Damascus will cut off aid and the flow of aid will come under government control.
Aid agencies are looking for ways to keep aid flowing into the region, including through government-controlled territory.
“The UN and its partners will continue to look for ways to expand access points and ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable. The political will of all parties to grant access to those most in need of assistance,” said Al-Mustafa Benlamlih, a UN spokesman. we need a chief humanitarian specialist for Syria,” he said.
Bessam Sabbagh, Permanent Representative of Syria to the UN, on Monday turned to UN Secretary General António Guterres for help. However, Sabbagh noted that the flow of aid should be coordinated with the Damascus government and come from Syria, not the Turkish border.
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said this week that the government is “ready to allow assistance to all regions as long as it does not reach the armed terrorists (opposition).”
Speaking to Arab broadcaster Al Mayadin, Mekdad said the sanctions have “further exacerbated the scourge.”
The Syrian Red Crescent, headquartered in Damascus, called for the lifting of sanctions. Washington further tightened sanctions on Syria in 2020.
Western countries say they are seeking to end the repressive Assad regime and reach a political deal. America also emphasizes that the sanctions are not aimed at humanitarian aid.
Joshua Landis, head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says Damascus is trying to use the aid to “legitimize the regime.”
Landis says: “All Arabs and the world at large have compassion for the Syrian people who are suffering greatly. Assad will try to use this compassion.”
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