At Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning’s press conference on February 8, 2023, she made an impassioned plea to the US to lift its crippling and illegal sanctions on Syria in the light of the terrible humanitarian crisis following the recent earthquake in the region. Mao Ning noted that Syria’s problems pre-date the earthquake and that the US has significant culpability in this regard: “The US military is still dominating Syria’s main oil-producing region, plundering more than 80 percent of the oil production, smuggling and burning Syrian food stocks, which has worsened the humanitarian crisis.”
Mao Ning also reported on China’s immediate aid provision in the wake of the earthquake, which includes providing 30 million yuan in emergency humanitarian aid to Syria, and 40 million yuan of emergency assistance and an 82-member Chinese rescue team to Türkiye.
The following article was first published in Global Times.
China urged the US to put aside its geopolitical obsession and immediately lift unilateral sanctions on Syria since Washington’s long-term involvement in Syrian crisis with military intervention and economic sanctions has resulted in a large number of civilian casualties and difficulties in economic development and reconstruction process in the country.
Syria, which has experienced years of war and turmoil and was recently hit by a strong earthquake, is facing a serious humanitarian crisis and both the United Nations, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have called for emergency assistance to victims in Syria to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation there, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at Wednesday’s press briefing in response to the US government’s claim that it will not deal directly with the Syrian government.
The US has long been involved in Syrian crisis with frequent military interventions and harsh economic sanctions, resulting in a large number of civilian casualties, difficulties in obtaining basic living security for the local people, and difficulties in economic development and reconstruction process, Mao said.
Up to now, the US military is still dominating Syria’s main oil-producing region, plundering more than 80 percent of the oil production, smuggling and burning Syrian food stocks, which has worsened the humanitarian crisis, Mao noted.
The US should put aside its geopolitical obsession, immediately lift unilateral sanctions on Syria and open the door to humanitarian aid in face of the catastrophe, Mao said.
Mao said that China also pays close attention to the earthquake in Syria. In order to express the sympathy and support of the Chinese government and people to the Syrian side, China has decided to provide 30 million yuan in emergency humanitarian aid to Syria including $2 million cash assistance and urgently needed relief materials. At the same time, China will speed up the implementation of the ongoing food aid projects.
Chinese relevant departments will also cooperate with the Syria to ensure the early implementation of the above-mentioned aid and help in earthquake relief and rescue for victims, according to Mao.
China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) said on Wednesday that the Chinese government immediately launched the emergency humanitarian assistance mechanism to provide emergency assistance to Turkey and Syria after the earthquake happened.
At the request of the Turkish government, the Chinese government has sent a Chinese rescue team to Turkey for international rescue.
The 82 members of the Chinese rescue team, carrying 21 tons of rescue equipment and supplies, departed from Beijing Capital International Airport on a chartered Air China flight to the disaster-hit area in Turkey, according to CIDCA.
The 82 members of the rescue team will mainly search those trapped under the building ruins as well as provide some onsite medical assistance.
At the same time, Chinese people from all walks of life have extended a helping hand to Turkey and Syria. A civilian rescue team named Ramunion from Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province, has dispatched an advance team to Turkey to carry out disaster relief in the worst-hit areas.
China has announced to provide Turkey with 40 million yuan of emergency assistance at the first installment. The Chinese government will continue to provide assistance to Turkey and Syria within its capacity in light of the development of the disaster situation and actual needs, CIDCA said.