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Envoy: West hindering Syria's reconstruction, looting oil, gas, wheat

Internally displaced Syrians are pictured in front of tents in a camp, before being transported to a new housing complex in the militant-held area of Bizaah, east of the city of al-Bab in the northern Aleppo Province, on February 9, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Syria's permanent representative to the UN has lashed out at the United States and the European Union for hampering the government’s efforts to improve humanitarian situation in the Arab country, saying the nation continues to suffer under the West’s illegal measures.

“The suffering of the Syrian people continues as a result of the practices of Western countries whose interests and agendas have prevailed over the lives of Syrians and the security and stability of the region,” Bassam al-Sabbagh told a UN Security Council Briefing on the Political and Humanitarian Situation in Syria on Friday.

“Improving the humanitarian situation requires lifting illegitimate coercive measures, ending foreign occupation of Syrian lands, and halting support for terrorist organizations and separatist militias.”

The government, he said, is trying to rebuild what terrorism has destroyed in Syria, return the country to the path of sustainable development and ensure the return of the displaced to their homeland.

However, he added, such endeavors are being met with major obstacles due to the wrong policies adopted by the Western states and their blatant violations of international law and the UN Charter.

“The unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States and the European Union have impacted the banking, energy and communication sectors, as well as those of land, sea, air and maritime transportation. They have also impacted the work of the United Nations and other international organizations operating in Syria,” the ambassador noted.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Washington and its European Union allies have imposed tough sanctions on Syria, after the terrorist groups that they long sponsored in their attempts to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad failed to achieve their goals on the battle ground.

The United States has deployed forces and military equipment in Syria without any authorization from Damascus or the UN. It has long been training militants and stealing Syria’s oil and wheat, ignoring repeated calls by Damascus to end its occupation of the country.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Sabbagh estimated that Syria used to produce 2.5 million tons of wheat before the war, but now it has to import 1.5 million tons instead because the American forces and its allied militants have taken control of the country’s wheat production. 

Syria is deficient in electricity generation because the US occupation forces are looting oil and gas, he said. The medical services sector, along with the pharmaceutical industry, is experiencing the repercussions of an embargo that deprives Syrians of their right to health care. 

The Syrian envoy further criticized Turkey for violating the bilateral agreements governing the water of the Euphrates River and hindering the passage of Syria-bound humanitarian aid.  

“The current political approach must be changed and talks should be undertaken to achieve the interests of the Syrian people and to end the Turkish, American and Israeli occupation of Syrian territories,” he emphasized.

Sabbagh also expressed Damascus’s commitment to a political solution based on an intra-Syrian dialogue that respects the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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