Syria denounces its exclusion from Brussels donor conference after Turkey and Syria earthquakes

Archive – Rescue efforts after earthquake in Latakia, Syria – STRINGER / XINHUA NEWS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Syrian officials have criticized Sunday’s donors’ conference in Brussels, which pledged €7 billion to provide support for victims of the February 6 earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, arguing that Damascus has not participated in any way in the talks.

»The conference has been held without coordinating with the Syrian government representing the country on which the disaster fell and even without inviting it to participate in its activities,» the Syrian Foreign Ministry said.

»Those in charge of the conference even ruled out the participation of the main humanitarian actors from Syrian NGOs,» it added, before indicating that this reveals a »politicization of humanitarian work,» Syrian state news agency SANA reported.

Thus, he pointed out that this stance »is also evident in the continued imposition of coercive, illegitimate, inhumane and immoral measures against the Syrian people, including those affected by the earthquakes», referring to the sanctions applied against Damascus after the outbreak of the war in 2011.

On the other hand, he stressed that »the US forces illegally present in Syrian territory continue to steal thousands of barrels of Syrian oil and smuggle it out of the country, without taking into account the urgent needs of those affected by the earthquakes».

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has conveyed to the organizers of the conference that »the minimum level for improving the living conditions of those affected by the earthquake catastrophe requires first and foremost a sincere political will and the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the policies of collective punishment against Syrians».

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, further indicated that Brussels will host on June 14-15 a new Conference on the future of Syria and the region where efforts will focus on moving towards a political solution to the conflict, but will also serve to »generate additional commitments» for humanitarian aid and recovery of the earthquake-ravaged Syrian region.