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      Charles ‘thrilled’ to meet relatives affected by earthquake in Syria

      ByMonelo Gabriel

      Feb 14, 2023

      Charles toured Syria House, a week-long community tent in Trafalgar Square, meeting five people who have lost loved ones in the tragedy.

      Syrians will be able to come to the house to pay respects to lost relatives and organize vigils at the center, which its founders hope will help raise awareness of the ongoing humanitarian disaster in the country.

      Hundreds of supporters had gathered around Trafalgar Square to witness his arrival downtown.

      Charles speaks with members of the Syrian diaspora community
      Charles speaks with members of the Syrian diaspora community (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

      Inside, he greeted small groups of Syrians one by one and offered traditional Syrian bitter coffee and dates.

      Among those he met was Salah Al-Asmar, a Syrian architect who works with the White Helmets humanitarian group and has been in the UK for two years.

      He lost his parents, brother, sister-in-law and nephew in the Antakya, Turkey earthquake after being trapped under rubble for seven days.

      He said, “I am very grateful to Your Majesty for your support. I hope the Syrian people appreciate that you are with us.

      “We thank the King and the British people for supporting the Syrian people during this crisis.

      “For seven days, my family was under the rubble. There was no rescue team.

      “Nobody could support them right now. I haven’t been able to sleep for days.

      Charles takes a sip of Syrian tea
      Charles takes a sip of Syrian tea (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

      “This is not like a normal emergency situation. We need proper support from the UK government and the UN.

      “I think 52 convoys have arrived in Syria. It is basic help and there have been no heavy vehicles to search for people under the rubble.”

      Yazan Douedari, who was invited to the event through friends, told the PA news agency: “It was very good to know that the King was here to support the Syrian people.

      “People need to shed light on the disaster.

      “It is difficult to compare disasters, but it is one of the massive disasters, and it has been after 13 years of conflict.

      “The King was showing his support and saying ‘I can’t imagine how hard this has been on you.’ He said ‘it’s terrible’. I saw that he was emotionally affected.

      “It means a lot that you have come here and are here to support the Syrian people, the victims and their families.

      Charles receives a rose for Valentine's Day from a well wisher.
      Charles receives a rose for Valentine’s Day from a well-wisher (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

      “It means a lot for the Syrian people and community to feel supported by the King.”

      Charles also met Bafta-winning Syrian filmmaker Waad al-Kateab, who produced and narrated the 2019 documentary For Sama and co-founded the Action for Sama campaign group, Action for Sama co-founder Hamza al-Kateab, the founder of the Ayman center Asfari and teacher and activist Afraa Hashem.

      London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who attended after approving the tent’s erection in Trafalgar Square, told PA that Charles’ visit “says a lot about the King.”

      He added of the visit: “It was heartbreaking. Some of the stories will never leave you.

      “It’s really important to those who were here that the King shows solidarity and shines a spotlight on this important issue.”

      Charles shook hands with supporters, including children who lined the streets before leaving Trafalgar Square.


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