Media Advisory / March 20, 2023

Photo stunt in Brussels highlights international failures over Syria earthquake aid 

A billboard ad truck is driving through the streets of Brussels outside an international donor conference where world leaders are gathering today to pledge support for victims of the Syria- Türkiye earthquake. The action is for a campaign stunt organized by The Syria Campaign highlighting international failures over earthquake aid to northwest Syria.

The billboard messages aimed at those attending the aid donor conference in Brussels include: “Doing Nothing Harms,” “The Failed Earthquake Response Cost Syrian Lives,” “Do Not Let War Criminals Dictate UN Aid Delivery,” and “Investigate UN Earthquake Aid Failures Now.”

Earthquake victims in northwest Syria waited for days for urgent medical aid and equipment to rescue people trapped under rubble which never arrived, needlessly claiming thousands of lives and leaving thousands more with life-long injuries. The UN also wasted precious time waiting for Syrian regime approval to expand cross-border aid access to the area. 

Laila Kiki, Director of The Syria Campaign, said: “The world has turned its back on the Syrian people for 12 years, burying their heads in the sand as Assad’s brutal regime targeted its own people with mass arbitrary arrests, torture and indiscriminate bombings. When the Turkiye-Syria earthquake struck, first responders in northwest Syria dug through rubble with their bare hands while the international community stood idle. No aid at all arrived within the critical 72-hour window to save lives. When it arrived, it was not adequate. We are making this injustice visible today for thousands of Syrians who have been invisible to those who claim to do no harm. We demand an international, independent investigation into aid failure to respond to this earthquake so that this never happens again.”