Assad says Syria needs more resources for earthquake response, thanks ‘Arab brothers’

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Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday the scale of destruction in the wake of last week’s earthquake required more resources than is available to the state, and he thanked countries which provided aid including “Arab brothers and friends.”

“The scale of the disaster and the duties entrusted to all of us are far greater than the available capabilities,” Assad said in his first televised address since the deadly earthquake that struck Syria and neighboring Turkey on February 6.

He added: “We would be remiss if we didn’t thank all the countries that stood by us since the early hours of the disaster, including our Arab brothers and our friends. Their in-kind aid and field assistance had a massive impact on reinforcing our capabilities to face the difficult conditions during the critical hours.”

Syrian officials have said the death toll in the territories under government control was more than 1,400. Meanwhile, there have been over 4,000 deaths reported in rebel-held areas in the northwest.

The United Nations estimated that the 7.8 magnitude earthquake affected approximately 9 million Syrians and has launched a $397 million appeal to help quake victims. The UN’s refugee agency said that nearly 5.3 million people may have been left homeless due to the quake.

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