The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) calls for the immediate lifting of sanctions on Syria to allow for more humanitarian aid and disaster relief following the horrific 7.8 magnitude earthquake that has left tens of thousands injured or dead.
Current U.S. sanctions severely restrict aid assistance to millions of Syrians. Existing sanctions impose obstacles that make it difficult for aid and disaster relief to reach many of those directly impacted.
ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said, “We commend and are thankful to existing organizations on the ground providing immediate humanitarian aid and relief to those in Syria, Turkey, and across the region. The reality is more aid and relief is needed, and time is of the essence. Lifting of the sanctions will open the doors for additional and supplemental aid that will provide immediate relief to those in need.” In Syria many of those displaced by the earthquake were already in desperate need of humanitarian aid.
Following the devastating Turkey-Syria earthquake on 6 February, the presidents of the Middle East Council of Churches held an emergency meeting to discuss the disaster and how to respond.
They mentioned that all the churches in the Middle East “have put their resources at the disposal of the affected and displaced people due to the earthquake, since the first moments of the disaster, despite their limited resources as a result of the blockade.”
The Middle East Council of Churches also called on the international community and the international ecumenical family to provide urgent emergency aid to the region, in coordination with the Middle East Council of Churches, the churches, and their affiliated institutions.
“We urge the immediate lifting of sanctions on Syria and allowing access to all materials, so sanctions may not turn into a crime against humanity,” reads the message.
World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay assured the Middle East Council of Churches that the WCC stands in solidarity with their call. Pillay said “In a time of disaster and crisis of such proportion we all need to stand together in support and offer the needed assistance to help the suffering, injured and the families who have lost loved ones, properties and belongings. Let us do all we can to help!”
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in southern Turkey early Monday has killed thousands people across the country and in Syria. The earthquake was felt as far away as Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Egypt. It was followed by at least 54 powerful aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in the same fault zone of south-central Turkey on Monday afternoon local time.
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