| 31 March 2023, Friday |

Qatar’s emir criticises delay in aid to earthquake victims in Syria

In an apparent swipe at the Syrian government, Qatar’s emir remarked on Sunday that he was perplexed by the delay in getting relief to those who had been affected by the earthquake in Syria earlier that month. He also said that it was unacceptable to misuse humanitarian aid for political ends.

Qatar has already spoken out against attempts by other nations to normalize ties with Damascus. Qatar was one of several regional powers that supported rebels in Syria’s civil conflict.

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, speaking at the opening of the U.N. Least Developed Countries conference in Doha, stressed the need to help Syrians “without hesitation” and support Turkey’s efforts to recover from the devastating earthquake.

The death toll in Turkey has risen to above 45,000, bringing the total toll including Syria to about 51,000. In Syria, the northwest region controlled by rebels at war with President Bashar al-Assad was the worst hit.


“As I wonder at the delay in the arrival of aid to these(Syrian) people, I stress that exploiting a human tragedy for political purposes is unacceptable,” Sheikh Tamim said.

The United Nations has called for access by all parties in Syria, already devastated by years of civil war, in order to scale up aid deliveries.

Relief bodies complain of restrictions by the Damascus government that they say politicise aid distribution. Other aid agencies say hardline rebels have blocked aid deliveries from government-held parts of Syria, further complicating efforts.

Qatar has been providing aid to Syrians via Turkey while other Gulf states like the United Arab Emirates have directly flown in humanitarian supplies.

Doha, like Washington, has voiced opposition to any moves towards rehabilitating or normalising ties with Assad, citing his government’s brutality during the conflict and the need to see progress towards a political solution.

  • Reuters