Above Photo: Aid convoy arriving in the northeastern city of Deir Ezzor 2017. (AFP)
The Arab and International Campaign to Break Siege on Syria announced plans on 24 February to launch a popular, pan-Arab campaign to confront the western-led blockade against Syria through an aid convoy in light of the devastating earthquake that killed over 50,000 people in Turkiye and Syria.
On Saturday, the Syrian news agency SANA reported that the preparations to participate in the Arab Youth Forum in Solidarity with Syria in March are already underway.
The campaign, titled “The Arab Unity Convoy to Break the Embargo Imposed on Syria,” is headed by Magdi al Masrawi, former secretary-general of the Arab National Congress, and draws an example from the “Convoy of Arab Unity, Maryam” to break the siege on Iraq in the early 2000s.
Following the devastating earthquake, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, the UAE, and Algeria were, among others, the first to deliver aid to Syria despite the high risk of US sanctions, which Washington ended up having to temporarily suspend following the storm of criticism it faced for politicizing the disaster.
Meanwhile, Russian, Iranian, Lebanese, and Palestinian rescue teams were among those participating in the efforts, pulling victims out of the rubble in the affected areas.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gave a televised speech on 16 February, in which he highlighted the repercussions of the deadly earthquake and thanked the countries that rushed to aid Syria following the disaster.
The “twelve years of war and embargo … gave Syrian society the expertise and the ability to act quickly and effectively in the early hours of the earthquake,” Assad said.
The president admitted that the disaster’s magnitude outweighs Syria’s available capabilities and resources, as other officials have suggested recently.