France pledges $13 mln in Syria quake aid

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France on Thursday promised 12 million euros (almost $13 million) in emergency aid to Syrians after the earthquake that hit Turkey and neighboring Syria earlier this week.

The aid would be disbursed “through non-governmental organizations and the United Nations in all regions affected,” foreign ministry spokesman Francois Delmas said.

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After almost 12 years of civil war, Syria is divided between regions controlled by the government, terrorist and opposition groups, and semi-autonomous Kurdish authorities.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Monday hit both regime and opposition-held areas of the country.

Many victims live in the country’s last major opposition bastion of Idlib, an enclave in northwest Syria to which non-governmental organizations have struggled to provide humanitarian aid through a single border crossing with Turkey.

The pledged French aid would include five million euros for a United Nations fund providing cross-border aid to northwest Syria, Delmas said.

Another five million euros would go to “several French and international NGOs working on emergency responses in the health, shelter, water, hygiene and sanitation sectors.”

The final two million euros was “under review” for urgent food aid.

Western nations have refused to have anything to do with the Damascus regime, which is under sanctions over its treatment of civilians during the conflict.

Delmas said the aid for Syrians would in no way change France’s “political approach” to President Bashar al-Assad’s government, and that Paris still backed a political solution to end the conflict.

The earthquake has killed more than 17,500 people across both countries.

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Syria requests assistance from EU after massive earthquake

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