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Iran FM visits quake-stricken Syrian city after Turkey

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (2nd L) shakes hands with a local official of the northwest quake-hit Syrian city of Latakia upon his arrival, on March 9, 2023. (Photo by IRNA)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has arrived in the northwest Syrian city of Latakia, which was hit by a devastating earthquake last month.

Amir-Abdollahian was welcomed by the Latakia governor upon his arrival on Thursday and is scheduled to visit quake-stricken areas in the province.

During his two-day stay, the top Iranian diplomat will also hold talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

Before heading to Syria, Amir-Abdollahian had traveled to Turkey and visited quake-hit areas in the country.

A devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake and series of aftershocks struck southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria on February 6.

The official death toll has exceeded 52,000 in both countries, with millions still displaced and in desperate need of basic assistance.

Thousands of buildings have been collapsed or heavily damaged in the powerful tremor.

Iran was among the first countries that rushed to the aid of both Turkey and Syria by sending tons of medical, food and sanitary aid. Teams from the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) were also dispatched to the quake-stricken areas for search and rescue operations.

The 15th plane carrying Iran’s humanitarian aid to the Syrian quake victims landed in the northwestern city of Aleppo earlier this month. The consignment included 16 tons of humanitarian aid including medicines, foodstuff, and dried milk.

The UN says over five million people in Syria have been affected by the earthquake and need shelter, food, and medicine. The disaster has multiplied the suffering of Syrians who have endured years of foreign-backed war and western sanctions that left millions dead, displaced, and impoverished.

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