Call to End Sanctions as Quakes Shake Turkey and Syria – International League of Peoples’ Struggle

ILPS extends militant solidarity to earthquake-impacted peoples

(February 22, 2023) As yet another earthquake strikes Turkey and Syria, the Working Committee for Africa and West Asia of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) extends our deepest sympathy to the peoples of the region after the catastrophic February 6 earthquake and 90 aftershocks that have left over 46000 dead, tens of thousands injured and millions homeless. Forty two thousand buildings in Turkey have either collapsed, need to be demolished or are severely damaged, with some cities virtually unrecognizable.

Member of rescue team carries body of child in aftermath of deadly earthquake in Syria. Reuters

We salute the search and rescue workers and local citizens whose bravery and resourcefulness in very difficult conditions allowed many victims to be removed alive from the rubble.

ILPS members and allies have heard the cry for assistance and will do all they can to assure swift aid and relief is sent to the suffering people. Meanwhile we will continue to work together to resist imperialist-led forces, which even before this earthquake, forcibly put the people of the region at risk and heightened their vulnerabilities with deadly sanctions, proxy wars and military incursions.

Washington imposed economic and financial sanctions on Syria which were tightened starting in 2020 via the infamous Caesar Act. These have restricted the flow of goods, fuel, money and aid and have weakened the Syrian people’s ability to rebuild and defend themselves against natural disasters, especially given the destruction left by over 10 years of imperialist-led war in that country.

Aid is now moving into Syria from Lebanon, essentially breaking the siege. Under intense international pressure, the US has lifted some sanctions temporarily (“180-day window”), but this is clearly inadequate and must be followed by an end to all unilateral sanctions against Syria, which are essentially a continuation of war by other means. This includes removing any blocks on financial aid from the Syrian diaspora.

As Turkey and Syria face the possible spread of infectious diseases and cholera and with the danger of further shocks looming, the ILPS in Africa and West Asia calls for the immediate end to unilateral sanctions, an end to imperialist-supported military aggressions in the region, and the unimpeded entry of humanitarian aid and emergency supplies for all peoples of the earthquake-impacted zones of Turkey and Syria.


For those who would like to assist earthquake victims financially, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent is recommended:

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