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China demands end to US sanctions on Syria after deadly earthquakes — RT World News

Washington has virtually ignored pleas from aid groups to lift economic sanctions

US sanctions targeting Syria have disrupted relief efforts after catastrophic earthquakes killed more than 10,000 people in the region earlier this week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, urging the United States to lift the penalties and “open the doors of humanitarian aid”.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning was asked to comment on the sanctions during her daily press briefing on Wednesday, noting the history of Washington’s intervention in Syria and the severe consequences for average citizens.

“Devastating earthquakes – on top of years of war and unrest – have plunged Syria into a terrible humanitarian crisis,” she said, adding that “frequent [US] military strikes and severe economic sanctions have caused huge civilian casualties and taken away Syrians’ livelihoods.

In the wake of the disaster, the United States should put aside its geopolitical obsessions and immediately lift unilateral sanctions against Syria, to open the doors of humanitarian aid to Syria.

Humanitarian groups, such as the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the US-based Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, have implored US officials to drop sanctions following Monday’s earthquakes, which shook Syria and Turkey and killed thousands of people in both countries. More than 8,500 lost their lives in Turkey, with some 50,000 injured, while at least 1,260 died in Syria in addition to 2,300 injured.

Many residents are now trapped under collapsed buildings, creating an urgent need for timely relief, although aid organizations say US sanctions have only made the job harder.

“The evacuation process and rescue operations are limited due to the obstacles resulting from the severe sanctions. We have shortages of heavy machinery and equipment is needed to lift the rubble,” said SARC Chairman Khaled Hboubati, adding that US sanctions are creating the biggest obstacles to relief efforts.

Washington has adamantly refused to consider ending economic sanctions, with the State Department insisting that such a move would be “counter productive” while claiming that the Syrian government has “brutalised” its own citizens during its decade-long struggle against armed jihadist groups seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Mao went on to condemn the ongoing US military operations in Syria, saying US forces were stealing the country’s energy resources at a staggering rate.

“As we speak, US troops continue to occupy Syria’s main oil-producing areas. They looted over 80% of Syria’s oil production and smuggled and burned Syria’s grain stocks. All of this has aggravated the humanitarian crisis in Syria,” she continued.

Although Damascus has repeatedly denounced the US military presence and demanded an end to what it sees as an illegal occupation of its sovereign territory, Washington has refused to budge. Just under 1,000 US troops continue to operate in Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria’s oil-rich northeast, as well as its southern border area, where they are embedded with Arab rebel factions.

More than 10,000 dead in earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

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