Monday, 27 March, 2023

Syria's Assad visits quake victims in Aleppo

Syria's Assad visits quake victims in Aleppo
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) greet people as he visits neighbourhoods affected by an earthquake in the northern city of Aleppo, on Friday. — AFP Photo

DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made his first visit Friday to a region stricken by an earthquake that has killed thousands in his country, reports AFP.

The president and his wife Asma visited survivors at their bedsides at a hospital in the northern city of Aleppo, images published by Syrian official media showed.

Assad also visited areas of the city damaged by Monday's 7.8 magnitude quake, whose epicentre was across the border in Turkey, according to images released by the presidency.

More than 22,000 people have died across Turkey and Syria as a result of the quake, one of the worst disasters to hit the region in around a century.

Over 3,300 of them have been killed in Syria, according to health ministry figures and a rescue group.

Aleppo province has so far counted 415 deaths and 1,050 injured, according to the health ministry.

Assad this week had been seen presiding over a government meeting and receiving an official Lebanese delegation, but had yet to visit a quake-hit area.

Diplomatically isolated since civil war broke out in his country in 2011, the Syrian president has received calls and aid from Arab leaders since the earthquake, momentum analysts say he could leverage to bolster regional support.