Shameful failure of UN, int値 response to NW Syria earthquake

Abdulrahman Matar
2023 / 2 / 19

The devastating earthquake that struck northwestern Syria on Feb. 6 has added insult to the already existing injury in this region that has been suffering from a number of disasters-;- armed conflicts, occupation, and poor economic conditions, to name just a few.
This disaster also opened the door wide to talk about the role of the UN and various international organizations working in the field of emergency response to disasters. Their performance in dealing with the earthquake is shameful, to say the least. The UN was late, just as was the governments of major powers, especially members of the Security Council, and this has inflicted serious human loss.
Justifying inaction with claims that the Trkiye-Syria border crossings were not open for aid convoys is nonsensical as no aid even reached these crossings, and there was no denial of entry to relief convoys. This is why it is worth pointing out that not only was there a failure to respond, but also a complete disregard for the NW Syrian region, which has never ever been on the list of priorities of the UN and international community.
It seems that the UN is not looking at NW Syria seriously, almost taking a position similar to that of the Assad regime, despite the international sanctions imposed on the regime because of its repression and massacres in Syria and the fact that this regime is not complying with UN Resolution 2254.
The issue of the crossings is a chronic one as Russia continuously obstructs the entry of humanitarian aid to Syrian areas outside the control of the Assad regime. In every renewal of the mandate of the mechanism for the delivery of aid across the Turkish border, the latest of which is Resolution 2642, the same problem arises, and the minimum understanding is reached on the extension, without reaching a final solution.
The -dir-e situation of internally displaced Syrians in NW Syria has been ignored for almost a decade now. Now there is an even more urgent need for medical assistance, food, and shelter supplies, and also for rescue equipment and machines to remove the rubble. As all of these were not met for a full week after the disaster took place, there has been a significant increase in the number of victims, including those stuck under the rubble until today.
A rescue and support plan is required promptly, although the multiplicity of military presence, political domination, and security interventions make such a plan a complex process. This is why special international intervention measures in such humanitarian situations and natural disasters should be taken, even if it is by force.
It is not wise at all to send international aid through the Syrian regime, at a time when the state is suffering an almost complete collapse of the government administration, with rampant corruption, which led to the failure to supply the disaster area with aid, the theft of materials and the confiscation of aid supplies by armed militias and groups loyal to the Assad and Iranian regimes.
The United Nations apologized for its negligence-;- however, this apology is worthless. In the absence of humanitarian and moral motives, the United Nations and the major powers must resort to an international humanitarian intervention without allowing the Russian veto to be an obstacle to that.
This is a new test for international powers and international organizations regarding its humanitarian role, which remains confined to the scope of desires and policies related to the interests of states, far from international law, and from the responsibility to maintain stabilityエ-or-resolve crises as they are supposed to be implemented.

Syrians in general have been left to face the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran without any real international support, and Syrians in the devastated northwest have been left under the influence of armed militias, de facto authorities, and devastating natural disasters. This betrayal is difficult for people to forget.

Abdulrahman Matar
Syrian-Canadian writer and journalist-;- Interested in human rights, civil society, culture and literature-;- Managing Editor of literary magazine Awraq

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