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Arab parliamentary delegation visits quake-hit Syria for 1st time since 2011

February 26, 2023 at 3:04 pm

A view of damage from Atarib district of Syria, affected by Kahramanmaras-centered earthquakes, on February 21, 2023. [Muhammed Said – Anadolu Agency]

An Arab parliamentary delegation visited the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Sunday to show solidarity with the victims of the Feb. 6 earthquakes that killed thousands in Syria and Türkiye, Anadolu reports.

The visit was the first since 2011 when Syria’s membership in the Cairo-based Arab League was suspended amid a deadly regime crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

Egypt’s state news agency MENA said Parliament Speaker Hanafi Al-Gebali arrived in Damascus as part of an Arab parliamentary delegation to show solidarity with Syria following the earthquakes.

Iraq’s state news agency INA said Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi also visited Damascus and was welcomed by the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad.

“The delegation represents the Inter-Parliamentary Union to confirm support to Syria and stand by its people in the plight caused by the earthquake,” al-Halbousi said in statements cited by Syrian state news agency SANA.

At least 44,218 people were killed by two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes, centered in the Kahramanmaras province, affected more than 13 million people across 11 provinces, including Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, Elazig, and Sanliurfa.

In Syria, at least 5,840 people have been killed in the earthquake disaster.

Survivor in NW Syria: ‘I watched my house collapse and kill my entire family’