The isolation of the Syrian regime

The recent earthquake in Syria revealed how isolated the Syrian regime is from an Arab and international perspective. President Assad is desperately trying to take advantage of the terrible disaster to his advantage and bring about the removal of the heavy sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union on his regime.

Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife Asma lowered their media profile this week, as low as possible, from the moment news of the great earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria became known, they completely disappeared from the media scene even though Asma Assad is the one who controls the humanitarian organizations in Syria.

The two even avoided visiting the city of Ladzakiya, which was hit by the earthquake, where there is a large concentration of members of the Alevi community, of which Bashar al-Assad is a member.

The Syrian president refrained from declaring a state of emergency in Syria or declaring it a disaster-stricken area and did not even declare a national day of mourning in Syria for the thousands of Syrian victims killed in the earthquake.

It seems that President Bashar Assad, who massacred hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims from his own people during the civil war, is not moved by the approximately 4,000 additional Syrians who were killed during the earthquake, he is trying to take advantage of the disaster to receive international aid, despite the heavy sanctions imposed by the Western countries on his regime, and he is trying to gain international sympathy that will lead to the complete removal of the sanctions on Syria.

American Secretary of State Tony Blinken revealed a few days ago that several Western countries offered Syria aid but it rejected it and set a condition that any aid to the Syrian people would go through the official Syrian government, including aid to earthquake victims in areas not under the control of the Assad regime.

The Biden administration is very careful and insists on sending the aid directly to those who need it in Syria and not through the corrupt regime of Bashar Assad.

Residents in Syria reported that aid that arrived directly to Damascus in recent days, from several Arab and European countries, was taken from the airport by the regime’s agents and transported through mafia organizations linked to the regime to markets for sale.

The official Syrian media accuses the international community of preventing the legitimate Syrian government from treating the victims of the earthquake because of the sanctions it imposed on the regime, Syrian personalities and artists launched a campaign on social media calling for the lifting of sanctions on Syria, the Syrian regime also used the same method during the 2020 Corona epidemic .

According to Syrian sources, President Bashar Assad accused that the US is exerting pressure on Arab countries and the European Union not to transfer aid to the victims of the earthquake in Syria for fear that the aid will reach the regime and strengthen it.

He is looking for international legitimacy and claims that the sanctions of the USA and the European Union paralyze the regime and do not allow it to effectively treat the victims of the disaster, which is why their treatment is so slow.

UN reports state that 70 percent of Syrians need economic, medical and humanitarian aid regardless of the recent earthquake and that 29 million Syrians are on the brink of starvation after 12 years of bloody civil war.

About 18 million Syrians live in a state of horrible poverty and a lack of medicine, Syria lives under a strict regime of sanctions and the regime has developed an economic alternative of large-scale smuggling and drug trafficking, especially the captagon drug, General Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother and commander of Division 4 of the Syrian army is considered the largest drug dealer Syria.

The Syrian regime does not control the areas of Idlib and Aleppo which are the main areas affected by the earthquake, some Arab countries such as Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, Iran and also some European countries have already transferred aid to Syria but it is not clear if it will actually reach those who need it.

The earthquake in Turkey and Syria revealed how isolated the Syrian regime is from an Arab and international point of view, President Assad is desperately trying to take advantage of the terrible disaster to his advantage after he expelled about 5 million Syrian citizens during the civil war, the earthquake created the possibility of politicizing the disaster and manipulation so that the regime of President Assad will survive financially.

The US and the European Union countries are doing everything so that aid reaches those in need, but Bashar Assad and the corrupt gang surrounding him are the ones who control the country.

This is one of the greatest tragedies of the Syrian people, the real danger to the citizens of Syria is not the earthquake that claimed the lives of several thousand people, the greater real danger is the continuation of Bashar Assad’s rule.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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