China demands an end to US sanctions against Syria following the deadly earthquakes

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Following devastating earthquakes in the region earlier this week that killed more than 10,000 people, American sanctions against Syria have hampered relief efforts, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which has urged the US to lift the sanctions and “open the doors for humanitarian aid.”

Mao Ning, the foreign ministry’s spokeswoman, was asked to comment on the sanctions during her daily press briefing on Wednesday. She cited Washington’s history of intervening in Syria, as well as the serious consequences for ordinary citizens.

In addition to “years of war and turmoil,” she said, “frequent [US] military strikes and harsh economic sanctions have caused huge civilian casualties and taken away the means of subsistence of the Syrians.” “The devastating earthquakes, on top of years of war and turmoil, have left Syria in a terrible humanitarian crisis,” she said.

Following Monday’s earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, which killed thousands, humanitarian organizations such as the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the US-based Arab American-Anti-Discrimination Committee pleaded with US officials to lift the sanctions. More than 8,500 people were killed and more than 50,000 were injured in Turkey, while at least 1,260 people were killed and 2,300 were injured in Syria.

Many residents are currently trapped beneath collapsed buildings, necessitating immediate relief, but humanitarian organizations say US sanctions have only made matters worse.

The evacuation process and rescue operations are limited due to restrictions imposed by the harsh sanctions. According to SARC president Khaled Hboubati, the biggest obstacles to relief efforts are US sanctions and a lack of heavy machinery and equipment needed to lift the rubble.

According to the State Department, the Syrian government has allegedly “brutalized” its own citizens during its ten-year conflict with armed jihadist groups seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The State Department has flatly refused to consider lifting economic sanctions.

Mao went on to criticize ongoing US military operations in Syria and claim that the US military is stealing the country’s energy resources at an alarming rate.

“As we speak, US troops remain in Syria’s main oil-producing areas. Over 80% of Syria’s oil production has been looted, and grain stocks have been smuggled out of the country and burned. All of this, she claims, has exacerbated Syria’s humanitarian crisis.

Damascus has repeatedly criticized the US military presence and demanded an end to what it sees as an illegitimate occupation of its sovereign territory, but Washington has refused to budge. There are still just under 1,000 US soldiers operating in the oil-rich northeast of Syria, which is under Kurdish control, as well as along its southern border, where they are embedded with Arab rebel groups.