The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday pledged $100 million to Syria and Turkey, one of the largest sums yet following a massive earthquake that killed more than 6,200 people across both countries, Agence France-Presse reported.
The oil-rich Gulf nation — which had already pledged some $13.6 million to Syria — is spearheading regional relief efforts, having dispatched planes to both countries with relief items and rescue teams following the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck early Monday.
On Tuesday Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan “ordered the provision of $100 million for the relief of those affected,” the official WAM news agency said.
The sum would be equally split between Syria and Turkey, with each getting $50 million, according to the news agency.
It was not immediately clear if the funds for Syria included the $13.6 million previously announced.
Major General Saleh al-Ameri, commander of joint operations at the UAE’s defense ministry, said Tuesday that three military planes had been dispatched to Turkey, carrying search and rescue teams who have since commenced operations.
A total of seven flights are planned to the quake-hit countries, including two to the Syrian capital of Damascus, he told local media.
Syria’s official SANA news agency said Tuesday that an Emirati plane carrying 10 tons of food supplies had arrived at the Damascus international airport.
The UAE reopened its embassy in the Syrian capital in December 2018, suggesting an effort to bring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime back into the Arab fold after years of boycott.
In March of last year, Assad made a visit to the UAE — his first to an Arab state in more than a decade of brutal civil war.