Qatar confirmed that it will continue efforts to help those affected by the devastating earthquake that struck the region, especially t those affected in northern Syria. Qatar noted at the same time that its position on the Syrian regime “has not changed.”
Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majid bin Mohammed al-Ansari said in a media briefing on Tuesday that his country has sent 29 doctors and four nurses to perform surgeries and train medical staff in northern Syria. It continues to send medical supplies, medicines and devices to centers and hospitals that benefit 108,000 affected people there.
He mentioned that the Qatar Red Crescent is currently constructing a new residential city for the affected families, consisting of 300 fully equipped apartments and complete infrastructure to meet their needs. Additionally, he emphasized the ongoing provision of aid through air bridges.
According to Ansari, Qatar Charity has assisted the victims of the earthquake in northern Syria worth 39 million Qatari riyals so far ($ 10 million), noting that the total assistance provided to Syrians during the past years exceeded 2 billion riyals (about $ 550 million).
“Our position has not changed”
In parallel, The New Arab quoted a Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying that his country’s position “has not changed” towards the Syrian regime, in light of the “Arab openness” with the regime, especially after the earthquake.
Ansari added that the reasons that led to the suspension of the regime’s membership in the Arab League “still exist”, especially since his country had previously called for elections under UN supervision that would lead to a political transition to governance in Syria.
The Qatari statement is in response to the increasing efforts of some Arab countries to normalize relations with the Assad regime under the guise of providing humanitarian aid for earthquake relief. There are concerns that this situation may be exploited to reintegrate the regime into the “Arab embrace.”
This rapprochement was manifested through unprecedented calls and visits by Arab leaders and officials. They telephoned and met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, expressing their solidarity with the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck Syria.
In 2011, the Arab League suspended Syria’s participation in its meetings due to the regime’s non-compliance with the decisions made under the Arab initiative. The initiative aimed to end the violence in the streets, which witnessed protests against the regime.
It is worth noting that Qatar supported the popular movement against the Assad regime in 2011, and its embassy in Damascus has remained closed since then. However, in contrast to the Gulf countries such as the UAE, Bahrain, and Oman, which have moved to restore diplomatic relations with the regime, Qatar has not taken this step.
In 2021, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman ruled out normalizing his country with the regime, and said that the reasons for suspending Syria’s membership in the Arab League “still exist” since 2011, against the backdrop of the regime’s repression of peaceful protests that erupted against it.
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.