Mekdad made the remarks in an interview with Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television network on Tuesday after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rattled Turkey and Syria, leaving more than 7,800 people dead and thousands of others injured in the two neighboring countries.
“The catastrophe of the earthquake that struck Syria is great, and what has increased its depth is the difficult circumstances that the country has been going through for the past 12 years as it is fighting terrorism and its supporters,” Mekdad told al-Mayadeen television network.
“What exacerbated the tragedy and catastrophe was the sanctions imposed by the United States and Western countries on Syria,” he added, reiterating his appeal to all the world countries to provide the required assistance to the Syrian people to confront the humanitarian catastrophe.
The top Syrian diplomat said the ministry had appealed to the member states of the United Nations, the General Secretariat of the organization, its relevant agencies and funds, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other humanitarian action partners from international, governmental and non-governmental organizations, to extend a helping hand and support Syria’s efforts to confront the crisis.
“When the Americans claim that they did not impose sanctions on humanitarian aid, we tell them that your sanctions prevent everything from Syria, including the purchase of medicines, just as Washington and its Western allies give orders to some countries, and threaten them with sanctions if they deal with Syria or any Syrian banks,” Mekdad said.
The Syrian Foreign Minister appreciated the countries and organizations that provided aid and declared their solidarity with Syria and its people, expressed their readiness to provide assistance to the Syrian people in difficult and disastrous circumstances.
Mekdad also underlined that the Syrian government is ready to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to all regions “provided that the aid does not reach armed terrorist groups.”
Earlier in the day, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) called on the United States and the European Union to lift the siege and economic sanctions imposed on Syria that are severely hampering relief work in quake-stricken areas of the country.
Syria has been in the throes of foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. While the Daesh terrorist group was crushed by the Syrian government, the militant groups continue to hold sway in some parts of the country under the patronage of Western powers.
Numerous reports have pointed to Washington’s role in transferring Daesh terrorists to the war-ravaged country and even airlifting supplies to the group.
The US government has over the past years imposed sweeping economic sanctions against Syria amid the Arab nation’s uphill battle for reconstruction and recovery.
The controversial Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, signed into law by former President Donald Trump, targeted individuals and businesses anywhere in the world that participated either directly or indirectly in Syria’s economy.
The restrictive measures have blocked imports of essential goods, affecting the Syrian people’s access to medical equipment, food, heating, gas, and electricity.