Lebanon's Hezbollah sends aid to Syria's quake-hit Latakia

AFP , Sunday 12 Feb 2023

Lebanon's powerful Shiaa movement Hezbollah sent Sunday a convoy of 23 trucks carrying food and medical aid to Syria's quake-stricken province of Latakia, a stronghold of the group's allies.

Syria Tents
Women and children who lost their homes walk in a tent camp in Atareb, Syria, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023. AP


"This the moment of support, the moment of assistance," senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine told reporters in Lebanon's capital Beirut.

It comes six days after a devastating earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, killing more than 33,000 people in total, including over 3,500 in Syria.

Latakia, located in Syria's northwestern region, is a stronghold for President Bashar al-Assad.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah is a key ally of Assad's regime and has openly been fighting alongside his forces since April 2013.

Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian conflict has helped tip the scales in favour of Assad on many fronts.

Adnan Moqadem, general director of civil defence in Hezbollah's health authority, said this first convoy "will be followed by others".

The convoy, carrying "food, health and household supplies", will be delivered to the Red Crescent and Syrian officials, Moqadem said.

The trucks carried banners marked with both the Syrian flag and of Hezbollah.

Lebanon has adopted a policy of dissociation from Syria's years-long war but on Wednesday, it sent its first high-level official delegation and rescue team to Damascus since the start of the conflict.

The delegation met with Assad and expressed readiness to open Lebanon's air and sea ports to help send aid to Syria.

On Saturday, two Italian planes arrived at Beirut airport, carrying medical aid to be sent to Syria.

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