BRUSSELS: Syria on Wednesday made an official plea to the EU for help after the deadly earthquake that struck it and Turkey this week, reports AFP.
EU commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarcic said the European Commission is encouraging EU member countries to respond to Syria's request for medical supplies and food.
The European Union was swift to dispatch rescue teams to Turkey after the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country on Monday close to the border with Syria. Nevertheless, it said the door was open for Syria's government to ask for quake assistance.
Now that Damascus has made that move, through the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism that coordinates aid, Lenarcic said the commission was asking European countries to respond favourably to this request.
The participants in the EU mechanism comprise the 27 EU countries plus eight neighbouring non-EU nations that include Norway and Turkey.
Syria was asking for a long list of items, Lenarcic said.
They need assistance in the efforts of their own rescue services in search and rescue of people who are trapped under the rubble. They need many medical items and medicines and medical equipment. They need food items and the like -- typical emergency aid items, he said.
The EU sanctions on Syria target members of the regime, the military and prominent companies and businesspeople.
The EU commissioner said that the humanitarian situation in Syria has been bleak for more than a decade and this latest earthquake has only aggravated this already dramatic humanitarian situation.
Lenarcic said that as of Wednesday, 20 EU countries and three associated European nations had offered Turkey a total 1,500 rescue and medical personnel and 100 search-and-rescue dogs to look for quake survivors.