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Statement by Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the One-Year Anniversary of the Earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria
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United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
February 6, 2024

Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the One-Year Anniversary of the Earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

 

Today marks one year since the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria took the lives of nearly 60,000 people. This devastating loss of life and subsequent humanitarian toll has been heartbreaking. My thoughts remain with those families across the region who lost loved ones as a result of this horrific tragedy. The United States stands with its Turkish partners to support long-term recovery efforts and continues to work to assist Syrians impacted by the quakes. We salute the Turkish and Syrian first responders and others from around the world who helped the injured and displaced.

During my time as the United States Representative to the United Nations, I visited the Türkiye-Syria border in Hatay to meet with humanitarian agencies and NGOs working to get desperately needed aid to the millions in northern Syria already displaced by more than a decade of war, and additionally suffering through the devastating effects of the earthquakes. These earthquakes compounded the crises faced by vulnerable Syrians, as well as the challenges faced by those providing assistance. The humanitarian situation in the region was already fragile after more than a decade of war in Syria, with many displaced families fearful of return. In the aftermath, the United States and partner organizations provided more than $242 million in lifesaving assistance across Syria and Türkiye.

One year later, the humanitarian situation in Syria remains just as dire. Last month, the Assad regime offered the UN a six-month extension of humanitarian access through Syria’s Bab al-Hawa crossing. While we welcome this continued access, a mere six months is not enough: humanitarians must be able to reach all Syrians in need, for as long as their needs persist. We call upon Damascus to extend the UN’s ability to utilize Bab al-Salaam and Al-Rai crossings, which provide quicker, more efficient access for humanitarian goods and personnel to parts of northern Aleppo. The international community must continue to work to ensure food, water, shelter, and other critical humanitarian assistance will continue to reach those in northern Syria.

As the largest donor to the humanitarian response in Syria, we call on all UN Member States to do more and give more, and we call on the UN Security Council to stand with the Syrian people as they fight for their fundamental freedoms and a more just and peaceful future. The United States remains committed to assisting Türkiye in its recovery efforts, including through an additional $1 million in funding for new projects and exchanges in the earthquake zone.

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