First aid through new border crossing into Syria, more than 40,000 dead

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Trucks carrying relief supplies crossed the Bab al-Salam border crossing today
NOS NewsAmended

A first convoy of aid supplies has entered Syria over an additional reopened border crossing with Turkey, the United Nations has reported. Syrians in opposition areas have not received outside help for the disaster since the earthquake, more than a week ago.

Ten trucks with relief supplies have crossed the Bab al-Salam border crossing. The goods involved have not been disclosed. It is the first time since 2020 that the border has been reopened.

The UN announced yesterday that President Assad has given permission to open two additional border crossings with Turkey for aid convoys. A large part of the affected area is in the hands of Syrian opposition groups, which are cut off from the Syrian government area.

The White Helmets, a voluntary organization in opposition territory, criticized the decision, calling it a political game. For years, the Assad regime has blocked humanitarian aid for residents in the area with the help of Russia.

Only one of the three border crossings is open

Until now, only Bab al-Hawa border crossing was open from Turkey. Last week, 26 UN trucks arrived there with relief supplies, but those relief supplies were not related to the earthquake. There were no medicines or tools for digging, which were most needed at the time.

After the disaster, international aid did arrive in the capital Damascus, mainly from neighboring Arab countries. This aid was channeled through the Assad regime and was not sent to opposition areas.

End of rescue operations

The White Helmets volunteers, who have dug people out of the rubble, are ending their rescue operations. The chances of finding the living are nil. In the area, the organization has had to excavate victims with few resources, often by hand.

In Turkey, several countries are also stopping their rescue operations. However, at least seven people were rescued alive from the rubble today. A woman in Hatay province was rescued 205 hours after the quake, CNN Turk reports.

Three hours later, a 65-year-old man was rescued in the same province:

Man pulled alive from under the rubble in Hatay after more than eight days

The death toll from the earthquake in Turkey now stands at more than 35,000 people, Turkish President Erdogan announced today. This makes it the deadliest disaster in the country’s modern history. In 1939, about 33,000 people were killed by a severe earthquake in Erzincan.

Furthermore, Erdogan said that better construction is needed. The many collapsed buildings “remind the government of the need for stricter building regulations,” the president said in a televised speech.

In Syria it is more difficult to get an overview of the number of victims. According to the latest figures, at least 5800 people have died. This brings the total number of deaths above 40,000. About nine million people in Syria have been affected by the earthquake, the UN says. The White Helmets announced a week-long mourning period yesterday.

  • Syria opens border crossings to UN aid, critics speak of ‘cynical move’
  • Aid to Syria political and logistical puzzle, plea for open borders
  • Syrians in Aleppo thrown back even further after earthquake: ‘We already had nothing’
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