"Operation Gallant Knight 2," launched by the Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence, has completed 50 days of providing support to Syria following the earthquake that hit the country last month by dispatching 171 aircraft loaded with food, medicines, and medical supplies.
After the earthquake on February 6th, an Emirati search and rescue team was dispatched to search for survivors under the debris of collapsed buildings. The UAE also provided the Syrian Civil Defence with search and rescue equipment and trained Latakia civil defence officers and local military construction corps to form small trained teams in line with the highest standards of search and rescue.
The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) played a crucial role in distributing food parcels to victims, supplying hospitals with medicines, and establishing a temporary shelter camp for those affected by the earthquake. The camp can accommodate 50 tents for 300 individuals.
Mohammed Al Kaabi, Head of the ERC Delegation in Syria, stated that the "Disaster and Crises Management Administration" of the ERC received a call for help from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent through International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement teams after the earthquake. The UAE's support and giving started on February 6th, according to a comprehensive plan to provide full logistical support, along with the launch of Operation Gallant Knight 2 by President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Al Kaabi said that the ERC teams were dispatched to both Turkiye and Syria to provide moral and psychological support to those affected by the earthquake. Additionally, an air bridge was established to Syria to provide further assistance. The first ERC team arrived in Syria on February 15th.
Health sector: Upon arriving in the affected areas, the ERC team met with their Syrian counterparts to create initial response plans, assess the conditions of victims, and provide medical support. The ERC's medical personnel also supplied medical equipment to the Syrian Ministry of Health. Furthermore, the UAE sent 10 ambulances containing advanced equipment to Syria.
Educational initiatives: On March 5th, 2023, Syrian schools resumed the education process, despite many schools being used as shelters. As part of the UAE's humanitarian and relief efforts to support families affected by the disaster, the ERC distributed over 10,000 school bags and stationery in various Syrian governorates. The ERC team also organised an educational camp that became a class to teach children in the field camp temporarily hosted by the ERC in Faydh.
Food and aid distribution: On March 12th, 2023, a ship carrying 37,500 food parcels sent by the ERC arrived at the port of Latakia as part of Operation Gallant Knight 2.
Ramadan food programme: H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region, allocated AED20 million to implement Ramadan programmes in Syria. The ERC implemented Ramadan initiatives targeting nearly 160,000 families, distributing 5,000 food parcels of Ramadan Mir, establishing Ramadan tents in five regions, distributing 75,000 Iftar meals, 10,000 Eid clothes, and conducting a Zakat al-Fitr program for 5,000 families.
Support for People of Determination: Under the UAE's leadership and commitment to supporting People of Determination, the ERC team organised an initiative to assist this category. This initiative included distributing medicines and food supplies to the homes of elderly individuals and providing wheelchairs.