February 13, 2023

IntelBrief: Politics in Syria and Turkiye Complicate Earthquake Relief

AP Photo/Hussein Malla

Bottom Line up Front

  • The February 6 earthquake that has killed more than 20,000 people in southeastern Turkiye and northwestern Syria struck a region already reeling from harsh economic conditions and displacements stemming primarily from Syria’s civil war.
  • The efficiency of the relief effort might affect the prospects for the re-election of Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who faces a tough battle in May.
  • The regime of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is attempting to use the urgent need for earthquake relief to end his regional and global isolation but still reportedly attacking affected areas.
  • U.S. policy toward Syria, including sanctions on the government, complicates but does not technically hinder the provision of U.S. or U.S.-allied aid to Syrians affected by the earthquake.