Syria: International action needed after devastating earthquake afflicts war-torn regions

Responding to the catastrophic earthquakes that struck Turkiye and Syria this morning, Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

“Amnesty International expresses our deepest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in these devastating earthquakes. Hundreds of thousands of people across Turkiye and Syria have been affected, yet people in areas already devastated by years of conflict face additional challenges.

“Four million people in opposition-held north-west Syria have had to live in appalling conditions with little access to healthcare. This morning, entire buildings collapsed in neighbourhoods already dilapidated by over a decade of war. The immense destruction, coupled with an acute economic crisis and a fierce winter storm, is also hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid.

“The international community must immediately mobilize resources to support the rescue and rehabilitation efforts in northern Syria. The Syrian government must also allow aid to reach all areas affected by the earthquake without restriction. All parties, particularly the Syrian government and Russian forces, must immediately cease attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructures, as well as indiscriminate attacks in the region.”

Background

Two powerful earthquakes devastated large areas of Turkiye and Syria this morning. According to the latest reports, at least 2,200 people have been killed and thousands more injured.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said that the earthquakes have devastated regions of Syria where a large number of internally displaced people (IDPs) and vulnerable families live.

Since August 2022, the Syrian government has enforced a blockade on civilians in predominantly Kurdish areas in the northern Aleppo region, obstructing their access to fuel and other essential supplies.

In July 2022, Amnesty International published a report detailing how millions of IDPs in north-west Syria are living in dire conditions in camps. They are entirely dependent on international aid for survival.

Source: Amnesty International