The northwest of Syria lives a cruel battle against the clock after the devastating earthquake of Monday the 6th. While neighboring Turkey, where the epicenter was registered, advances in the rescue work and receives help from dozens of countries and organizations, in the affected Syrian areas not only fight against the disaster, but also against the difficulties in receiving support due to the complex political background in a nation bled dry by 12 years of civil war.
LOOK: Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria LIVE: last minute live, numbers of dead and injured
What areas of Syria were affected by the earthquake?
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake registered early Monday morning has so far left 19,863 deaths, 16,546 of them in Turkey and 3,317 in Syria.
In Syriathe earthquake severely hit the northwest of the country, while many people were still sleeping in this region where many have already suffered loss and displacement due to the civil war.
Although the quake hit large areas controlled by the government - such as the province of Latakia and the region of Tartus - the areas of Syria under rebel control are among the most affected.
The provinces of Idlib -last bastion of the rebels- and Aleppo, in the hands of the Syrian opposition, are still looking for survivors, but with little hope. Nearly 3 million internally displaced persons reside in these places, almost three quarters of its total population, and 1.8 million of them live in camps or informal settlements.
The border crossing of Bab al-Hawa It is the only direct way of entry of supplies to the areas of the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo in the hands of the Syrian opposition.
The city of Aleppounder government control after bloody battles in 2016.
What is the political situation of the country?
Syria It has been ravaged by a civil war since March 2011 that has caused half a million deaths and displaced millions of people. The conflict made many dependent on humanitarian aid. Millions more people sought refuge in Turkey, on the other side of the border.
For Damascus The civil war is the result of a Western-fomented plot, which seeks to overthrow the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assadand the economic crisis is the consequence of the international sanctions imposed since 2011.
The complicated situation has become evident with the silence of the Syrian president. Bashar al-Assadwho has yet to give a public speech since the first earthquake that hit the country four days ago.
Despite this, some experts believe that the regime Sirius it can take advantage of the tragedy to try to break out of international diplomatic isolation. Some Arab countries have resumed contact with Al Asad to express their condolences and offer support.
Why does it take so long for help to arrive?
The northwest of Syria, controlled by the rebels, received this Thursday, four days after the tragedy, its first international aid convoy. The support arrived in six UN trucks through the Bab al Hawa border crossing, the only one authorized for these shipments from Turkey.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for the organization had called on the Security Council to authorize the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to introduce aid from abroad for the population of opposition areas without having to go through the hands of the Government of Damascus. Something that finally happened.
Local rescue teams have been warning for days that the delay in aid will cost more lives. The lack of heavy machinery and other equipment forced rescuers to remove the rubble with what they had, even with their bare hands.
The issue of sending cross-border aid to opposition areas in Syria has been a highly controversial issue in recent years in the UN Security Council, where vetoes by Russia, an ally of the Al Asad regime, have been forcing cuts the number of crossings available until leaving it only at one.
What does the help that arrived this Thursday the 9th consist of?
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that the delivery includes blankets, mattresses, tents and basic relief items to cover the needs of at least 5,000 people.
A person in charge of the Bab al Hawa crossing who requested anonymity assured the Efe agency that the convoy was not transporting food, water or medical materials, since it is a routine United Nations shipment whose arrival had been postponed due to the earthquakes.
The white helmets, a group of rescuers who lead operations in opposition areas and who have repeatedly warned of the lack of machinery for clearing debris, among other materials, regretted that the shipment did not include "special equipment for search groups" either. .
Why is there talk of the politicization of aid?
Sending international aid to Syria is politically charged, as the Syrian regime and its main ally Russia want renditions to the enclave to be from Damascusthe Syrian capital, instead of from Turkey.
Regime critics say the Assad government has a history of blocking or diverting aid to rebel-held areas.
After the earthquake, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, insisted that this issue must be avoided "politicizing" at a time when "massive support" is needed for the population of the area, but he made it clear that with more authorized crossings would increase capacity to support residents of Idlib province and other areas under rebel control.
The diplomat hoped to be able to increase aid shipments also from inside Syria, which have usually been minimal due to the difficulties posed by crossing the front lines.
Until the publication of this note, official sources gave a total of 20,000 people killed by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.