Significant Events for the 7th Day of the Earthquake Disaster in Northern Syria:
- The Syria Response Coordinators Team confirmed the continued absence of the United Nations in support of the people affected by the earthquake in northern Syria. The team reported that the UN entities are working within the minimum limits only, and limiting relief campaigns to donations from other countries only. The team said the situation on the ground contradicts the UN Secretary General’s spokesman’s claim that road conditions are the reason for the UN’s delay in humanitarian aid deliveries to NW Syria. The team also observed that the supposed obstacles to aid deliveries cited by the UN could have been easily overcome simply by using other border crossings (Bab al-Salameh, Jarablus, and other crossings) instead of just relying on the Bab al-Hawa crossing. The Coordinators Team also noted that Turkiye would not oppose UN use of these additional crossings in light of the internal humanitarian crisis. Instead, they noted that UN officials have been trying for a year and a half to get Turkiye to agree to permanently open crossings between the opposition-held territories and the Syrian regime for cross-line humanitarian aid deliveries as an alternative to cross-border deliveries, and those UN officials appear to be exploiting the current crisis as a way to force Turkiye to agree to that goal.
- At 3 PM on Sunday, Mr. Raed Al-Saleh, Director of the Syrian Civil Defense, described his meeting with Martin Griffin, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations for Humanitarian Affairs and said Mr. Griffin had apologized for the UN’s shortcomings and mistakes in its earthquake response. Saleh said that acknowledging the mistake is the beginning of the right path. Now the United Nations must work outside the Security Council to open three additional border crossings and introduce emergency response to Northwest Syria as soon as possible, he added.
- As of 5 PM Sunday, a total of 52 UN relief trucks have gone into NW Syria since the earthquake began. These trucks have delivered food and tents that represent just one percent of the humanitarian needs of NW Syria in the aftermath of the quake. Syrians have noted that a much greater volume of UN and international aid has been delivered to the Assad regime via Damascus and other regime territories, greatly bolstering the regime’s legitimacy.
- Also by Sunday afternoon, four foreign media teams entered Northwest Syria to cover the events of the earthquake that struck the region.
- At 6 PM Sunday, Secretary-General of the Syrian National Coalition, Haitham Rahma, condemned the lack of an international response, stating that there are thousands of Syrians now in the north who are left in the open without shelter and the basic necessities of life, including food, medicine, and warmth.
- At 6:30 PM, a spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated that the Bab al-Hawa crossing is not sufficient to meet the needs of the Syrians affected by the earthquake. There are about 6.8 million Syrians living outside their homes, she said.
- At 7 PM, the World Health Organization announced that it is prepared to deliver aid from Assad regime territory into opposition-held territory, as soon as it receives approval from the opposition authorities. The WHO said it needs to use all available ways to deliver aid across the internal lines of contact or across the borders. The organization also added that the limited health facilities in Northwest Syria were already operating at their maximum capacity even before the earthquake, and that now the local health system was exhausted and in need of support, and rescue teams were exhausted.
- At 8 PM, the Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets), reported that the death toll from the earthquake in Northwest Syria has now reached more than 2,168 deaths. They said the number of people injured but rescued from the rubble is more than 2,950 injured. The White Helmets said that today they are continuing search operations to recover the bodies of the deceased in several places in the countryside of Idlib and Aleppo, amid very difficult conditions by working under the rubble of buildings. They said that Northwest Syria has experienced 550 completely destroyed buildings, 1560 partially destroyed buildings, and thousands of buildings and walls that are cracked, damaged, and unstable.