The White Helmets reported that a delegation from their organization met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to Turkey. This meeting marks the first of its kind at this level to discuss developments in Syria following the devastating earthquake.
The White Helmets tweeted that during the meeting, the deputy director of the organization, Farouk Habib, discussed with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken the “valuable” role of the U.S. in supporting the post-earthquake humanitarian response in northwestern Syria. He emphasized the importance of direct support that was urgently provided to support the early recovery and rehabilitation of affected communities.
Blinken tweeted, “It was an honour to meet with representatives of the White Helmets in Turkey. Thank you for your heroic efforts to save Syrians after the earthquake. The United States is proud to support you and other organizations providing life-saving assistance in response to this tragedy.”
The White Helmets held a press conference on February 10th to update on the ongoing rescue operations for the earthquake disaster in northern Syria and highlighted that as of that day, they had not yet received any UN support to assist their efforts.
Raed al-Saleh, director of the White Helmets, stated during a press conference on February 10 that the lack of sufficient equipment was a major reason for the slow progress of rescue operations. He emphasized that searching for survivors in the rubble has become increasingly difficult but that the teams will not stop until every area is thoroughly searched.
Saleh expressed gratitude towards the various individuals and groups who offered their help, noting that their response was more effective than that of the United Nations. He emphasized that no international team had arrived in the north with proper equipment following the earthquake and that only volunteers had been present. He went on to express his gratitude towards the Syrian people and local organizations who provided support and donations in the aftermath of the disaster.
During the press conference, Saleh emphasized that the White Helmets had asked the United Nations why aid was only entering areas controlled by the regime and not reaching northern regions. He also noted that the number of victims had surpassed three thousand and that rescue operations were still ongoing.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.