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UAE, Saudi Arabia announce earthquake relief for Syria, Turkey

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this united arab emirates pledged $100 million to Syria on Tuesday, turkeythe largest sum since the massive earthquake that killed thousands.

Gulf state Saudi Arabia, which severed diplomatic ties with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in 2012, has also said it would provide aid.

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates – which has already pledged some $13.6 million to Syria – is spearheading regional relief efforts, sending planes and rescue teams to the two countries following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake earlier on Monday .

On Tuesday, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan “ordered $100 million for relief to those affected,” the official WAM news agency said. According to the news agency, the sum will be divided equally between Syria and Turkey, each receiving $50 million.

It was unclear whether the funding for Syria included the previously announced $13.6 million.

Major General Saleh al-Ameri, commander of joint operations at the UAE Defense Ministry, said on Tuesday that three military aircraft had been dispatched to Turkey with search and rescue teams on board. He told local media that a total of seven flights were planned to fly to the affected countries, including two to the Syrian capital Damascus.

Syria’s SANA news agency said on Tuesday that an Emirati plane carrying 10 tons of food had arrived at Damascus International Airport.

saudi help

Saudi Arabia King Salman’s Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center was ordered on Tuesday to “provide health, shelter, food and logistical assistance” to Syria and Turkey, the official SPA news agency said.

It will also launch a public donation drive for earthquake victims in both countries, the SPA added.

The oil-rich Gulf kingdom has supported groups opposing Bashar al-Assad during the war, and some Syrian opposition figures in exile are based in Riyadh.

But in recent years, Saudi Arabia has softened its stance against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and senior Syrian regime officials have said they are cooperating.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest crude oil exporter and the most powerful economy in the Arab world.

The aid announcement also follows the recent rapprochement with Turkey and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Ankara last June. Relations between the two countries have been strained since journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Meanwhile, the UAE reopened its embassy in the Syrian capital in December 2018, a sign of the UAE’s efforts to cooperate with Bashar al-Assad’s regime after years of resistance. Last March, Bashar Assad visited the United Arab Emirates – his first visit to an Arab country in more than a decade of brutal civil war.

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