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Netizens fume as US sanctions exacerbate humanitarian crisis in quake-hit Syria

Syrian civilians taking part in the rescue efforts. (Twitter)

In the wake of devastating earthquakes that struck Syria and Turkey on Monday, thousands of Syrian civilians continue to be trapped under the rubble, while many more are in temporary shelters in unbearably cold weather.

While humanitarian aid from different countries, especially the United States and European Union, has been pouring into Turkey, Syria has been left to suffer amid crippling US-imposed sanctions.

Social media has been flooded with videos and photos of those grappling with the aftermath of the earthquake, blaming their situation on the US-led Western sanctions against the Syrian nation.

Only a few countries have so far come forward to break the inhumane siege on the war-torn country, with Iran leading the efforts.

Human rights activists and journalists have been tweeting heart-breaking videos of children trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings, with US sanctions making it hard for aid to reach the people.

In one of the videos circulating through social media, a young boy films himself under a collapsed building, saying it was a terrifying experience.

“I do not know if I will stay alive or die. There are a few families of our neighbors also stuck under the rubble,” the young traumatized boy said with teary eyes.

American nd European hypocrisy can be summed up by a tweet US president Joe Biden posted after the earthquake, saying he was “deeply saddened by the tragedy in Turkey and Syria” while directing his team to provide the assistance needed to Turkey, without any mention of Syria.

Commenting on these dual standards, a Syrian activist said in a tweet that the hypocrisy over their sympathy for the Syrian people was "disgusting to the extreme".

"You should lift the economic sanctions and lift the siege on the people of #Syria instead of crying here," he wrote.

In a show of blatant hypocrisy, US and European politicians hailed the White Helmets, a West-funded terrorist group, portraying them as heroes rescuing the earthquake victims. 

The director of Syria Justice & Accountability Center in Washington, Mohammad al-Abdallah called for donations to the White Helmets, calling them a “credible group”.

Also, Minister of State Foreign Commonwealth & Development Affairs, Tariq Ahmad said the UK is releasing an additional £800k for the White Helmets to allegedly assist essential front-line search & rescue operations in northwest Syria following the devastating earthquake.

Criticizing the claims on how the White Helmets are being pictured as heroes, the Head of Aleppo's Industry Chamber Fares Shehabi posted a photo of Syrian civilians taking part in the rescue attempts.

In a tweet, he said “real rescuers don't wear "White Helmets" and are NOT camera savvy nor do they work in al-Qaeda held areas..!”

It is worth mentioning that the White Helmets group is known for its coordination with terror outfits in Syria to carry out staged chemical attacks in order to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by a US-led military coalition present in Syria since 2014.

Activists from Syria's neighboring countries also slammed the US duality and politicization of a serious human crisis affecting innocent civilians.

Lebanese journalist Sarah said that the US and the EU are suffocating Syria with crippling sanctions, and said the destructive sanctions must be stopped rather than sending some aid for “photo-ops”.

The activist said that the US is “crippling Syria with sanctions, illegally occupying Syrian land, burning Syrian wheat and stealing Syrian oil, now claiming they want to provide aid to the earthquake victims.”

The controversial sanctions act, the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, signed into law by former President Donald Trump, targeted individuals and businesses anywhere in the world that participated either directly or indirectly in Syria’s economy.

The restrictive measures have blocked imports of essential goods, affecting the Syrian people’s access to medical equipment, food, heating, gas, and electricity.

Following the earthquake, Syria, with its airspace almost empty of aid aircraft, is out of international relief efforts despite its heavy losses.

A Palestinian activist posted a photo showing aircraft with emergency relief assistance heading to Turkey but not Syria.

She described the sanctions and bias against Syria as a “monstrosity that is human-made.”

This is while Iran, under sanctions itself, rushed to help the Syrian people and the government cope with the tragedy.

Independent journalist Richard Medhurst touched on this point in a tweet, saying that Iran was the first to send aid to Syria, with other countries then following Iran’s lead, including Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria, and Russia etc.

Member of the European Parliament, Clare Daly, said the sanctions targeting the quake-hit country must come to an end.

She said in a tweet the situation in Syria is appalling, where the earthquake comes after a decade of war, in a country battered by Western sanctions and called for putting an end to this drastic situation.

Medical equipment, bandages, blankets, and tents are the most basic needs for treating innocent people inflicted by natural catastrophes and for rescue efforts as people suffer in the aftermath of an earthquake in a devastated country and in freezing cold weather.

Preventing these from being delivered to the Syrian people comes within US cruel measures under the pretext of sanctioning a "foe government" which is in fact a mass killing of civilians of whom thousands are of unknown fate so far., according to experts.

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