UN agencies continue to help remove rubble with their partners in regime-controlled areas following the earthquake, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, noting that they have assessed the safety of 3,700 schools and established eight temporary educational centers in shelters and community centers.
Dujarric announced that seven UN agencies brought more than 1,070 aid trucks into northwest Syria after the earthquake, as part of their cross-border response from Turkey to meet the needs of those affected.
According to local media reports, the Assad regime is reportedly demolishing homes that have suffered earthquake damage in Lattakia. The cost of demolishing these homes is being borne by the affected residents. However, the head of the Latakia City Council has denied that the council is receiving any fees for the demolitions or deportations. He did not deny, however, that other groups associated with the Assad regime may be charging fees for these services.
Numerous pro-regime internet pages have criticized the implementation of “safety check” fees imposed on individuals impacted by the earthquake. Concerns have been raised about the fate of the funds that have been received by the government without any visible benefit to the affected population. There are suspicions of aid theft and misuse of support and donations.
The demolished buildings serve as a stark reminder of the apparent criminal behaviour of the Assad regime during its war against the Syrian population. The systematic destruction of cities, towns, infrastructure, and facilities was a deliberate act that the regime exploited in various ways, particularly in areas outside of its control. This exploitation allowed the regime to strengthen its influence and facilitate demographic changes in the region.
The Syrian regime is not only exploiting the destruction for political gain and attempting to secure funds for reconstruction, but it is also implementing a policy of collective punishment. This policy obstructs the restoration process, hinders rubble removal, and imposes unjustified restrictions under flimsy pretexts.
Due to the lack of official figures and statistics regarding the losses caused by the earthquake that struck northern Syria on February 6th, the Assad regime has used the disaster to its advantage on all fronts. The regime has especially exploited the situation to conceal its bombardment of residential areas, along with that of its allies.
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.