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SYRIA Lebanese solidarity with the Syrian population affected by the earthquake

Impulses of generosity, messages of condolence and support from citizens. The first relief teams that were sent to the place. A ministerial delegation visits Damascus. Despite the serious economic crisis, the Land of Cedars is also mobilized to help. As with the explosion in the port of Beirut, united in tragedy.

Beirut () – The powerful seismic shock of February 6 was also clearly felt by the Lebanese, who woke up in the middle of the night due to strong tremors, although they did not know the reason for the earthquakes. The terrible memory of the explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020 immediately came to mind for the inhabitants of the capital. Irony of the tragedy, many regained their calm realizing that it was an earthquake, and not from the accidental explosion of a warehouse, a bombing or even an attack. In the southern suburbs of Beirut, when Hussein heard shouts of “Allah Akhbar” at the time of the quake, he was seized with panic. “I thought it was the return of the Mahdi [el fin de los tiempos, según el Islam]”, says this young man of 22 years remembering those moments.

Relations between Syria and Lebanon have been frozen since the end of 2011. Among the causes are the bloody repression of the popular revolt by Damascus and the Arab League’s sanction of the Bashar al-Assad regime due to the civil war. However, a ministerial delegation made up of the head of diplomacy, Abdallah Bou Habib, and the outgoing ministers Ali Hamiyé (Public Works), Hector Hajjar (Social Affairs) and Abbas Hajj Hassan (Agriculture) leaves today for Syria for an official visit. . At the heart of the mission is the “possibility of help from the Lebanese in the framework of ongoing rescue operations.”

Indeed, in the last few hours, some rescue teams and emergency response units have already left for the areas of Syria affected by the earthquake. Yesterday, the Lebanese army announced the departure of 15 military engineers to the neighboring country to participate in search and rescue operations. Some funds were released and assigned to a Civil Protection team. The Lebanese Red Cross, for its part, also sent a team of experts. For his part, Minister Ali Hamiyé (an exponent of Hezbollah) declared yesterday that several Lebanese businessmen and companies had decided to donate excavators and other heavy tools useful in excavation operations and to remove rubble. “Our ports and our airport are available for rescue operations. And they will be open to all ships and planes carrying aid, obviously exempt from paying taxes and fees. [por escalas o aterrizajes]”added the head of Beirut diplomacy.

The Churches also showed their solidarity with the affected population, which includes a good number of believers from their own communities. All political movements, without exception, stood in solidarity with the Syrian population, but some, like Farès Souhaïd, noted that their solidarity was with “the people, not the regime.” [de Assad]”. Following the example of Washington, he adds, the ruling regime must be prevented from diverting the impulse of human solidarity to its own benefit. An approach shared by many political forces that could be defined in relation to “sovereignty”.

Churches open to refugees

However, the task of sending aid from Lebanon is complicated by the fact that the quake-affected regions are controlled in some cases by the Syrian government and in others by rebel and jihadist groups opposed to Damascus. Within the government zone, the province of Aleppo concentrates more than a quarter of the deaths. The metropolis, once the economic and commercial capital of the country, suffered a severe blow with the collapse of some 50 buildings.

At the request of the bishops of Aleppo meeting in an emergency committee, Vincent Gelot – director for Lebanon and Syria of “L’Œuvre d’Orient” accompanied a 10-ton truck loaded with blankets for the emergency in the city yesterday from Beirut. The NGO coordinates its intervention in agreement with the apostolic nuncio in Damascus, card. Mario Zenari, who also arrived in Aleppo yesterday with a shipment of fuel. Fuel is essential to combat the cold that characterizes these days and that further complicates the life of a population that has long been the “main victim” of US and Western sanctions aimed at hitting Assad and those around him. Lastly, mosques and churches were opened without distinction to accommodate families whose homes and accommodation were destroyed or which, out of prudence, it is preferable to leave uninhabited because they were damaged and weakened by the earthquake. Others prefer to take refuge in places of worship for the simple fear of returning home at the risk of new devastating tremors.



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Written by Editor TLN

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