Lift the embargo on the Syrian people—Patriarch John and Syrian church leaders' cry for help

Syria, February 8, 2023     

Following the devastating earthquakes that wrought mass destruction, killing and wounding thousands throughout Turkey and Syria on Monday, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East and other Syrian church leaders are calling for an end to the sanctions against Syria, so that the suffering people can get the help they need in this exceedingly difficult time.

The leaders “appeal to the conscience of all the people of good will to advocate on behalf of the Syrian in order to put an end to their misery and enable them to live in dignity as envisioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” and call on governments and other organizations to send speedy relief to the Syrian people.

The statement, signed by Pat. John, Patriarch II Aphren Ignatius of the Syriac church, and Patriarch Joseph I of the Melkite church and the heads of other churches in Syria, reads:

Lift the Embargo on the Syrian People

Following the earthquake which struck northern Syria on Monday February 6, 2023, thousands of Syrians lost their lives, many churches, institutions and homes were destroyed and a large number of families were displaced.

This natural disaster adds to the ordeal of the Syrian people, who continue to suffer from the tragedies of war, crises, disasters, epidemics, and the harsh economic hardships resulting from inflation, the absence of indispensable materials, medications, and daily basic necessities needed in order for people to survive and live in dignity.

We, the three patriarchs with the heads of churches in Syria, demand from the United Nations and the countries imposing sanctions on Syria to lift the embargo and the unjust sanctions imposed on the Syrian people, and to take exceptional measures and immediate initiatives to secure the delivery of the much needed relief and humanitarian aid. We also appeal to the conscience of all the people of good will to advocate on behalf of the Syrian in order to put an end to their misery and enable them to live in dignity as envisioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We pray for the victims and their families, asking the Lord to grant rest to the souls of the departed and recovery to the wounded. We, likewise, pray for all those working in the fields of relief, rescue, and hospitalization. We appeal to the governments, international organizations, NGOs, charities, and peace advocates everywhere to expedite the support of relief and rescue efforts, irrespective of any political consideration

Damascus, February 7, 2023

Yesterday, OrthoChristian reported on ways to donate to relief efforts via the Antiochian Metropolis of Germany and Central Europe and International Orthodox Christian Charities, and today on how to donate via the Archdioceses of North America and the British Isles and Ireland.

Antiochian Patriarchate Antiochian Patriarchate     

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Pfmd2/9/2023 8:55 am
Humanitarian groups, such as the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the US-based Arab American-Anti-Discrimination Committee, have implored US officials to drop the sanctions following Monday’s quakes, which rocked Syria and Türkiye and killed thousands in both countries. More than 8,500 lost their lives in Türkiye, with some 50,000 wounded, while at least 1,260 died in Syria in addition to 2,300 injured. Many residents are now trapped under collapsed buildings, creating an urgent need for timely relief, though humanitarian orgs say US sanctions have only made the job more difficult. “The evacuation process and rescue operations are restricted due to obstacles resulting from the severe sanctions. We have shortages in heavy machines and equipment is needed to lift the rubble,” said SARC president Khaled Hboubati, adding that US sanctions are creating the greatest obstructions for relief efforts. US refuses to assist Syria after devastating earthquakes. Washington has outright refused to consider halting the economic penalties, with the State Department insisting such a move would be “counterproductive” while claiming the Syrian government has “brutalized” its own citizens during its decade-long struggle against armed jihadist groups seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
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