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Blinken Thanks White Helmets for 'Heroic Efforts' during Syria Earthquake Response


Tue 21 Feb 2023 | 07:12 PM
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken
By Ahmad El-Assasy

In a meeting with members of the Syrian Civil Defence, often known as the White Helmets, on Sunday in Turkey, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken praised their reaction to the earthquakes that wreaked havoc on northern Syria earlier this month.

Blinken hailed the White Helmets for their "heroic efforts" in rescuing Syrians trapped under debris after twin earthquakes of 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude struck southern Turkey on February 6; these earthquakes toppled buildings in the White Helmets' operational provinces of Idlib and Aleppo.

Rescuers were unable to aid many of those trapped beneath debris or remove bodies due to a lack of heavy equipment, but they were still able to help thousands of individuals who were affected by the earthquake. At least 47,000 people were killed in the earthquakes.

"We appreciate your valiant efforts in saving Syrians following the tremors. In reaction to this catastrophe, the United States is proud to help you and other organisations that are giving life-saving aid "Tweeted by blinken.

The US's top diplomat was met, according to the White Helmets, "to review the response to the earthquake in [northwest] Syria, the humanitarian crisis, strategies for assisting affected civilians, and procedures for achieving early recovery."