Support Syria and Turkey Earthquake Relief Efforts

By now everyone has seen the devastation in Turkiye and Syria from the earthquake on Monday. People are still buried in the rubble – whole families unaccounted for. The death toll is already at 19,000 (total updated 2/9) and fear it will double with the freezing cold and total devastation – My cousin Yakzan Shishakly in Gaziantep told me “its like doomsday”.

White Helmets save a child from the rubble in a rare piece of positive news.

Financial support is needed asap and there are many groups on the ground working feverishly to help people in need.

I’ve put some FAQs at the bottom of this post on some ‘no-no’s’ however here is a short list in NW Syria specifically, where cross-border aid is at a minimum (the lifeline to Turkiye is compromised and Assad on the other side is sieging them and bombing with Russian support) and the infrastructure is already fractured due to a decade of bombing and state of war.

There are many others great groups responding to the catastrophe (Molhem team, Karam Foundation, Islamic Relief USA and more).

There is alot of disinformation going around as well – here are some questions i’ve been getting.

Q: Should I donate to UN agencies?

A: No! In Syria, much of the UN funding operations go straight through to the Assad regime (the supposedly sovereign government), where aid is used to subsidize his regime, make cronies rich and relief is used as a weapon (much is written on this subject, here is one piece:…/how-un-humanitarian… )

Q: Are the sanctions imposed on Assad hindering efforts?

A: No. Aid is exempt from sanctions. The UN for example has funneled hundreds of millions to Assad and as noted above much of it gets extorted. Many other states are sending aid to the Assad regime as well. Sanctions efficacy should be debated, but not in this context.

Q: Is the Assad regime helping?

A: Not in the north west – they are blockading any aid getting in and also bombed some areas yesterday – as people are being dug out of the rubble. In areas under regime control, the response has been extremely lackluster despite UN and other state support.

Q: Why should I not put this Syria flag emoji 🇸🇾 in my posts in solidarity?

A: This flag represents the Assad regime and is seen with disdain by millions of Syrians. Especially in NW Syria, this is added insult as their misery is due to the regime. This is akin to showing solidarity with BLM by flying a KKK banner. While an alternative is Syria’s flag of Independence (Revolution flag) all symbols are political – to not send unintentional signals, just don’t show any flags.

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