Sanctions on Syria should not obstruct relief efforts: UN chief
The UN chief noted that people in affected areas have been suffering one nightmare after another over the devastating earthquakes and aftershocks.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that sanctions on Syria should not be impeding relief efforts in the country as it has recently been hit by one of the worst quakes in the world on February 6.
"This is a moment in which everybody has to make very clear that no sanctions of any kind interfere with relief to the population of Syria in the present moment," Guterres said at a briefing.
The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, had also told reporters in Geneva earlier today that "Emergency response must not be politicized", noting aid is needed to get to state-controlled areas, as well as those controlled by militants.
The UN chief added that people in the two quake-hitten countries, Turkey and Syria, have been suffering one nightmare after another over the devastating earthquakes and aftershocks.
"People are facing nightmare on top of nightmare," Guterres said, noting that the lack of aid materials to assist with relief efforts was also a serious issue.
Guterres further added that help from the UN is underway and that UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths will be travelling this weekend to assess affected areas.
Read more: Top EU officials demand lifting of sanctions on Syria 'immediately'
Monday's massive earthquake flattened entire sections of major cities in Turkey and Syria, killing more than 17,100 people, injuring thousands more, and leaving many more without shelter in the winter cold.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the death toll in Turkey had reached 16,170 and that 64,194 sustained injuries from the quake.
The situation is likewise of concern in Syria, where at least 3,162 people have been killed in the earthquake.
The Syrian Ambassador to Russia, Bashar Al-Jaafari, said today that the earthquake crisis had exposed the shortcomings of Western societies, policies, and governments, not only toward Syria but toward the whole world.
He said countries imposing sanctions on Syria are the same ones that discriminate between one side of the border and the other in the humanitarian sector.
According to Sputnik, Seismologist Dogan Perincek told the news agency on Thursday that another earthquake may occur in the near future in the area of Turkey's Canakkale port in the Sea of Marmara due to increased seismic activity there.
Read more: Post-earthquake reconstruction in Syria, Turkey may take 10 years