First Saudi aid plane lands in Syria’s regime-held areas: state media
A Saudi aid plane landed at a Syrian airport held by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday in the first such shipment from the kingdom that has backed the armed opposition to Assad during the country's 12-year civil war.
Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya reported that the plane carrying 35 tons of food and medical aid and shelter arrived at Aleppo International airport as part of a Saudi humanitarian operation to help Syrians affected by last week's deadly earthquake.
Saudi Arabia sends its first plane loaded with food aid to gov-held #Syria.— Kareem Chehayeb | كريم شهيب (@chehayebk) February 14, 2023
Unlike some other Arab countries, notably UAE, Saudi has been quieter on rekindling ties with Damascus.
Analysts have said #earthquake relief efforts could help speed up gradual normalization pic.twitter.com/5ItLrdEHEe
It said the operation was carried out on the orders of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
"The directives given to us from the leadership in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to help the brotherly Syrian people affected (by the earthquake) across Syria," a member of the Saudi delegation told Syrian television.
The person, who was not identified, said that Tuesday's plane was the first of several set to arrive over the next days.
Before Tuesday, Saudi Arabia had sent aid only to the country's opposition-held northwest, including a convoy of 12 trucks that arrived in the devastated city of Jandaris on Monday, according to Saudi state-owned Al-Hadath.
The overall death toll from last week's earthquake in Turkey and Syria has topped 37,000, more than 5,714 of them in Syria according to a Reuters tally of reports from Syrian state media and a U.N. agency.