PH contingent willing to help in search, rescue ops in Syria

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 10) — The Philippine contingent to Türkiye (formerly Turkey) on Friday said it is willing to be deployed to war-torn Syria, which was also affected by the 7.8 quake that devastated the area.

"We are not saying no because Philippines is a friend to all nations. We don't have dispute or any geo-political conflict with Syria and Turkey," Dr. Ted Esguerra, a member of the Philippine team sent to Türkiye, told CNN Philippines' The Source.

The powerful earthquake that struck on Monday has killed over 21,000 people in Türkiye and Syria. The Philippine Embassy in Ankara, the capital city of Türkiye, confirmed that two Filipinos were among the dead.

The embassy's records show there are 248 Filipinos in affected regions.

On Thursday, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) said the Syrian government appealed to the Philippines for assistance following the powerful earthquake.

The OCD said Syria's request is already being reviewed.

Esguerra said being deployed to Syria will be the Philippines' "way of paying back to the nations who helped us when we were battered by Haiyan."

The Philippines' 85-man team arrived in Türkiye on Thursday. The group will help in search and rescue, and medical operations.