Sanctions against Syria harm persons oppressed by al-Assad

The death toll in Syria and Turkey is approaching 25,000. UN experts want sanction-induced restrictions backed off in Syria.

An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck in Pazarcık, Kahramanmaras a province of Turkey in the early hours of 6 February 2023. Some 1,300+ quakes occurred including a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that hit Elbistan. Thousands of persons have been injured in Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa. In Syria, Aleppo Governorate and Idlib Governorate have been hit hard. Thousands have been killed and thousands have been evacuated.

Genuine solidarity with earthquake survivors calls for lifting of sanction-induced restrictions: UN experts | OHCHR

Within 20 minutes, RINJ humanitarian workers in Syria since 2012 went into action and began assisting White Helmets and other male rescue workers.

Some 200 civilian volunteers from local communities in northern Idlib and west Aleppo were mustered and a total of seven busses were commandeered as warming stations for some of the 6 million people left homeless or otherwise displaced by the massive earthquake disaster.

The Syrian regime of Bashar Hafez al-Assad is alleged to have commit crimes against humanity. Clearly this is a realistic allegation. Assad crimes in Houla after a May 2012 protest demonstration is why and how The RINJ Foundation sent most of its people able to travel to Syria.

The original women’s RSAC clinics and shelters in Syria were by 2014 driven east and west (to Gazientep,Turkey) by ISIS. The eastbound groups stopped in Raqqah and Mosul, Iraq. The workers were led by a Syrian-Canadian woman who is now a surgeon in eastern Syria and another woman who has moved on to become the CEO of a private security company providing services to RINJ Women in war zones just like CNN and other organizations hire private security for their people like those who helped make the following video.

Kahramanmaras the scale of destruction

This is a screen capture from a Guardian drone video of Kahramanmaraş showing the scale of destruction. Art/Cropping/Enhancement: Rosa Yamamoto / Feminine-Perspective-Magazine


Two videos illustrate the Syrian sanctions conundrum. “The Syrian regime of Bashar Hafez al-Assad cannot, must not, be forgiven,” says Dr. Buni Nemef in Aleppo. Others concur.


Idlib Syria recent past: Idlib, Syria is a 6,097 km² cemetery. Ceasefire for Evacuations.

On 10 February 2023, the United Nations urged the international community to take prompt action to enable effective emergency response and recovery in the wake of catastrophic earthquakes in the two countries. “This includes the lifting of all economic and financial restrictions caused by unilateral sanctions against Syria, during this time of sorrow and human suffering,” the UN experts said. They issued a joint statement which can be read here.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), “Preliminary data suggests that as many as 5.3 million people in Syria may have been affected by the recent earthquake and will need some form of shelter assistance, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has been rushing aid to the badly impacted parts of the country. UNHCR is focusing very much on shelter and relief items, ensuring that collective centers that displaced have gone to have adequate facilities, as well as tents, plastic sheeting, thermal blankets, sleeping mats, winter clothing and so on.”


UNHCR workers in Syria are strained to the limits according to RINJ medical workers.

In a statement released by the UNHCR, about the reportage from Sivanka Dhanapala, UNHCR Representative in Syria, the northwest of Syria is flagged as a key focus of UNHCR.

“Access has been badly impeded by the damage. What we call ‘cross line’ supplies (from government areas into the NW) made it through before the quake and these had been pre-positioned and are being distributed from warehouses. From now, we hope that an agreement with the [Assad] Government will allow for fast and regular access to these areas. We have just had a preliminary estimate that 5.37 million people affected by the quake will need shelter assistance in the whole of Syria. That is a huge number and comes to a population already suffering mass displacement.” Sivanka Dhanapala paraphrased by UNHCR.

8 February 2023

Relief goods are distributed to families staying at a mosque in the Soleyman El-Halaby region east of the Aleppo train station on 8 February 2023. Photo credit: Hameed Maarouf