Operation Dost: India's 7th humanitarian aid flight reaches Syria, Turkey
India's seventh flight under Operation Dost landed at Damascus in earthquake-struck Syria on Sunday with over 23 tons of relief assistance and was received by Deputy Minister of Local Administration and Environment Moutaz Douaji. It later headed to Turkey's Adana. The Indian Air Force C17—carrying medical equipment and aid, relief material, and critical care medicines—departed from Hindon Airbase in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad on Saturday.
Why does this story matter?
- After a devastating 7.8-magnitude quake, followed by hundreds of aftershocks, struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, nearly 100 countries, including India, extended support to both nations.
- The total death toll from the tragedy has surpassed Turkey's 1999 earthquake count, which left almost 17,000 people dead in the region.
- This was also the second deadliest quake in the highly earthquake-prone region in over 100 years.
7th Operation Dost flight reached Syria with relief material: Bagchi
The IAF aircraft with relief materials and medical aid reportedly landed first in Syria's Damascus, unloaded the materials, and then flew off to Turkey's Adana to deliver aid. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted, "7th #OperationDost flight reached Syria with over 23 tons of relief material, including gensets, solar lamps, emergency & critical care medicines, & disaster relief consumables (sic)."
Operation Dost flight later reached Adana airport: Bagchi
India sends 35+ tons of relief material to Turkey, Syria
As per the MEA, the cargo aircraft carried over 35 tons of relief material, out of which more than 23 tons were being handed over to Syria for relief efforts, while Turkey got 12 tons. The aid sent to Syria included sleeping mats, relief materials, solar lamps, emergency and critical care medicines, blankets, and disaster relief consumables, among others, according to the ministry.
Jaishankar, Indian Army on Operation Dost's 7th flight
On Saturday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also took to Twitter and wrote, "The 7th #OperationDost flight departs for Syria and Turkiye. Flight is carrying relief material, medical aid, emergency & critical care medicines, medical equipment & consumables." Meanwhile, the Indian Army tweeted on Sunday, "An #IAF C-17 aircraft got airborne last night for #Syria and #Turkiye, bearing relief material and emergency equipment."
EAM Jaishankar's post on Twitter
What is Operation Dost?
Under Operation Dost, India is dispatching humanitarian aid and search and rescue units, mainly National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) squads, dog squads, a field hospital, medicines, relief materials, and equipment, to earthquake-hit Syria and Turkey. Trucks and four-wheeled vehicles were also dispatched, while India has also set up a field hospital in Turkey's Hatay. Notably, "dost" commonly means "friend" in both Hindi and Turkish.
Almost 100 nations, top sporting bodies offered support
Nealy 100 counties have reportedly offered support to Turkey for earthquake relief operations so far. According to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, search and rescue units from 68 different nations are operating in the country with over 8,300 foreign workers. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the European Football Association (UEFA) have also offered financial aid to the quake-hit people.
Death toll crosses 28,000 in Syria-Turkey earthquake
Meanwhile, the death toll in Turkey and Syria from the destructive earthquakes crossed the 28,000 mark on Saturday, as per reports. The number of homeless and starving people also continued to grow while rescue and relief squads operated under extreme weather conditions. Multiple humanitarian organizations and countries, including the United Nations (UN), have extended help to the quake-hit regions.
$77 million needed to feed homeless in Turkey, Syria: UN
Reportedly, more than 24,600 deaths have been reported in Turkey so far, while the tally has crossed 3,570 in Syria. The United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) earlier appealed to raise $77 million to provide rations and hot meals to nearly 874,000 earthquake-affected people in both countries. Survivors in desperate need of food include 284,000 recently displaced Syrians and 590,000 people in Turkey.
Turkey-Syria earthquake deaths to top 50,000: UN relief chief
UN relief chief Martin Griffiths on Saturday said that the death toll from the horrific earthquakes could cross 50,000. During a news briefing at the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, the first 7.8-magnitude quake's epicenter, Griffiths told SkyNews: "I think it is difficult to estimate precisely as we need to get under the rubble, but I'm sure it will double or more."