Turkey-Syria earthquake: Who is sending aid to whom?

Turkey-Syria earthquake: Who is sending aid to whom?
Countries from across the Middle East and the world are rushing aid to Turkey and Syria following the earthquake, despite the political and logistical hurdles in getting help to those who most need it.
5 min read
08 February, 2023
Countries from around the world are sending aid to Turkey and Syria [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images]

International aid from around the world is flowing into Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquakes that have killed at least 11,000 people across both countries. 

Millions of dollars worth of aid has been flown in, despite the difficulties relief and humanitarian services face in reaching some of the worst-hit areas. 

Syria's state news agency SANA reported that help from several countries - including Oman, the UAE, and Jordan - had arrived in Damascus and in Aleppo, which has been badly affected by the earthquake. 

Planes carrying aid from Jordan and the UAE had arrived in Damascus on Wednesday.

Both Oman and Saudi Arabia have ordered the creation of an air bridge to deliver supplies to Syria and Turkey, although the extent of their support is unclear. 

Qatar said it was operating relief flights to Turkey to transport rescue teams and is also supplying vehicles, tents, and a field hospital, according to the state news agency. 

Doha-funded Qatar Charity, which has an office in Gaziantep, said it was distributing 27,000 hot meals in the stricken Turkish city, with supplies sent to other parts of Turkey and to Syria. 

Algeria, Morocco, Libya, and Tunisia have all sent aid. 

Algiers delivered 115 tons in the form of food, medical supplies, tents, and blankets to help those affected by the earthquake, and sent a civil protection team to help with relief operations, according to SANA.  

Morocco pledged to send urgent medical and logistical aid to Turkey, according to local media. However, Rabat's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to issue an official statement on the matter.

Tunisia sent 41 rescue workers to Turkey and 19 to Syria, pledging it would send a further 15 tons of aid, mainly blankets, food, and infant formula, 11 tons of which will go to Turkey and four to Syria.

Libya Prime Minister Abdel Hamid al-Dbeibah ordered the "immediate" dispatch of 55 civil protection and military engineering rescuers and five search and rescue dogs.

Egypt President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi spoke with regime counterpart Bashar Al-Assad for the first time on Tuesday, expressing solidarity with the Syrian people.

He vowed to provide "all forms of support and aid", according to an Egyptian spokesperson. Sisi also had a conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Lebanon also sent aid and civil defence teams search for survivors and clear debris. Lebanon on Tuesday announced it would send soldiers, engineers, paramedics, and dogs and their handlers trained in search and rescue operations to the earthquake-stricken areas. 

Millions of dollars worth of aid and relief supplies have also arrived from other parts of the world. 

Indian aircraft carrying relief supplies reportedly landed in both Adana in Turkey and Damascus in Syria, along with medical teams as well as search and rescue dogs and their handlers.

Most Western states, including the US, Canada and the UK, which are sending aid and relief teams to both countries, are doing so through NGOs on the ground in Syria to circumvent dealing with the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Some of the NGOs working in northern Syria have criticised the slow pace of the response from the US and Europe. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Israel had "received a request from a diplomatic source for humanitarian aid to Syria, and I approved it", he told lawmakers from his Likud party on Tuesday. 

Syria denied it had made any such request. "How can Syria ask for help from an entity that has killed... Syrians for decades?" a Syrian official said. Opposition activists have also widely rejected the motivation of Israel's offer for aid.

Local and international NGOs, including the UN and the Red Crescent, are continuing to operate across both countries.

Many NGOs however are finding it difficult to coordinate their response as their headquarters or regional branches were based in Gaziantep in Turkey, the epicentre of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake. 

The aid efforts have been further complicated by political and logistical issues following the quake.

Bab Al-Hawa, the only such crossing that is allowed by the UN to be used to send aid between Turkey and rebel-held regions of northern Syria, has been devastated by the earthquake and subsequently closed, making it difficult for relief supplies to reach stricken areas in the region. 

Syrian opposition figures have said that more crossings have been opened despite the UN restrictions, but those reports are unconfirmed. 

Monday’s series of earthquakes and aftershocks in southern Turkey have devastated densely populated urban centres, including Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Adana and Iskenderun in Turkey and Aleppo, Latakia, Tartous and Hama in Syria.